The pharmacokinetics and hepatic disposition of repaglinide in pigs: mechanistic modeling of metabolism and transport

Mol Pharm. 2012 Apr 2;9(4):823-41. doi: 10.1021/mp200218p. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


The predictive power of using in vitro systems in combination with physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling to elucidate the relative importance of metabolism and carrier-mediated transport for the pharmacokinetics was evaluated using repaglinide as a model compound and pig as the test system. Repaglinide was chosen as model drug as previous studies in humans have shown that repaglinide is subject to both carrier-mediated influx to the liver cells and extensive hepatic metabolism. A multiple sampling site model in pig was chosen since it provides detailed in vivo information about the liver disposition. The underlying assumption was that both metabolism and carrier-mediated transport are also important for the hepatic disposition of repaglinide in pigs. Microsomes and primary hepatocytes were used for in vitro evaluation of enzyme kinetics and cellular disposition, respectively. In vitro data were generated both with and without metabolism inhibitors (ketoconazole, bezafibrate and trimethoprim) and transport inhibitors (diclofenac and quinine) providing input into a semi-PBPK model. In vivo data were also generated with and without the same enzyme and transporter inhibitors, alone and in combination. The pigs were given repaglinide as intravenous infusions with and without inhibitors in a sequential manner, i.e., a control phase and a test phase. Parameters describing the passive and carrier-mediated flux as well as metabolism were estimated in the control phase. The result from test phase was used to gain further knowledge of the findings from the control phase. The in vivo pig model enabled simultaneous sampling from plasma (pre- and postliver and peripheral) as well as from bile and urine. A semi-PBPK model consisting of 11 compartments (6 tissues + 5 sampling sites) was constructed for the mechanistic elucidation of the liver disposition, in vitro based in vivo predictions, sensitivity analyses and estimations of individual pharmacokinetic parameters. Both in vitro and in vivo results showed that carrier-mediated influx was important for the liver disposition. The in vivo findings were supported by the result from the test phase where hepatic clearance (4.3 mL min⁻¹ kg⁻¹) was decreased by 29% (metabolism inhibition), 43% (transport inhibition) and 57% (metabolism + transport inhibition). These effects were in good agreement with predicted levels. This study suggests that both metabolism and carrier-mediated uptake are of significant importance for the liver disposition of repaglinide in pigs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Carbamates / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Piperidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Swine


  • Carbamates
  • Piperidines
  • repaglinide