Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modeling in inflammation

Crit Rev Biomed Eng. 2012;40(4):295-312. doi: 10.1615/critrevbiomedeng.v40.i4.50.


Inflammation is an array of immune responses to infection and injury. It results from a complex immune cascade and is the basis of many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Numerous mathematical models have been developed to describe the disease progression and effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. This review illustrates the state of the art in modeling the effects of diverse drugs for treating inflammation, describes relevant biomarkers amenable to modeling, and summarizes major advantages and limitations of the published pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) models. Simple direct inhibitory models are often used to describe in vitro effects of anti-inflammatory drugs. Indirect response models are more mechanism based and have been widely applied to the turnover of symptoms and biomarkers. These, along with target-mediated and transduction models, have been successfully applied to capture the PK/PD of many anti-inflammatory drugs and describe disease progression of inflammation. Biologics have offered opportunities to address specific mechanisms of action, and evolve small systems models to quantitatively capture the underlying physiological processes. More advanced mechanistic models should allow evaluation of the roles of some key mediators in disease progression, assess drug interactions, and better translate drug properties from in vitro and animal data to patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines