A "middle-out" approach to human pharmacokinetic predictions for OATP substrates using physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modeling

J Pharmacokinet Pharmacodyn. 2014 Jun;41(3):197-209. doi: 10.1007/s10928-014-9357-1. Epub 2014 Apr 10.


Physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models provide a framework useful for generating credible human pharmacokinetic predictions from data available at the earliest, preclinical stages of pharmaceutical research. With this approach, the pharmacokinetic implications of in vitro data are contextualized via scaling according to independent physiological information. However, in many cases these models also require model-based estimation of additional empirical scaling factors (SFs) in order to accurately recapitulate known human pharmacokinetic behavior. While this practice clearly improves data characterization, the introduction of empirically derived SFs may belie the extrapolative power commonly attributed to PBPK. This is particularly true when such SFs are compound dependent and/or when there are issues with regard to identifiability. As such, when empirically-derived SFs are necessary, a critical evaluation of parameter estimation and model structure are prudent. In this study, we applied a global optimization method to support model-based estimation of a single set of empirical SFs from intravenous clinical data on seven OATP substrates within the context of a previously published PBPK model as well as a revised PBPK model. The revised model with experimentally measured unbound fraction in liver, permeability between liver compartments, and permeability limited distribution to selected tissues improved data characterization. We utilized large-sample approximation and resampling approaches to estimate confidence intervals for the revised model in support of forward predictions that reflect the derived uncertainty. This work illustrates an objective approach to estimating empirically-derived SFs, systematically refining PBPK model performance and conveying the associated confidence in subsequent forward predictions.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Statistical
  • Organic Anion Transporters / metabolism*
  • Pharmacokinetics*


  • Organic Anion Transporters