Plasma concentrations of melengestrol acetate in humans extrapolated from the pharmacokinetics established in in vivo experiments with rats and chimeric mice with humanized liver and physiologically based pharmacokinetic modeling

Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013 Apr;65(3):316-24. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Feb 5.


Some synthetic chemicals are suspected to be responsible for adverse effects on endocrine function. Sex hormones administered to farm animals are of particular interest because of their regulatory role in developmental processes. To predict concentrations in humans of the synthetic growth promoter melengestrol acetate (17α-acetoxy-6-methyl-16-methylenepregna-4,6-diene-3,20-dione), a forward dosimetry approach was carried out using data from no-observed-adverse-effect-level doses orally administered to mice or rats and from in vitro human and rodent experiments. Human liver microsomes preferentially mediated 2-hydroxylation of melengestrol acetate, but rodent livers produced additional unidentified hydroxymetabolites. Adjusted animal biomonitoring equivalents for melengestrol acetate from mouse and rat studies were scaled to human biomonitoring equivalents using known species allometric scaling factors and human metabolic data with a simple physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. Melengestrol acetate elimination in humans was estimated to be slow compared with elimination in rodents. The disposition of melengestrol acetate in humans was evaluated using chimeric TK-NOG mice with humanized liver. The results suggest the usefulness of simplified PBPK modeling combined with in vitro and in vivo experiments and literature resources as well as a future interest in estimating by a full PBPK modeling using another bottom up system. This model may also be useful for risk evaluation and for simulating plasma concentrations resulting from exposure to low doses of melengestrol acetate and related compounds.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Chimera / metabolism
  • Glucocorticoids / blood
  • Glucocorticoids / pharmacokinetics*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Hepatocytes / transplantation
  • Humans
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Melengestrol Acetate / blood
  • Melengestrol Acetate / pharmacokinetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • No-Observed-Adverse-Effect Level
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Melengestrol Acetate