A Mechanism-Based Pharmacokinetic Enzyme Turnover Model for Dichloroacetic Acid Autoinhibition in Rats

J Pharm Sci. 2017 May;106(5):1396-1404. doi: 10.1016/j.xphs.2017.01.032. Epub 2017 Feb 3.


Dichloroacetic acid (DCA), a halogenated organic acid, is a pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase inhibitor that has been used to treat congenital or acquired lactic acidosis and is currently in early-phase clinical trials for cancer treatment. DCA was found to inhibit its own metabolism by irreversibly inactivating glutathione transferase zeta 1 (GSTZ1-1), resulting in nonlinear kinetics and abnormally high accumulation ratio after repeated dosing. In this analysis, a semi-mechanistic pharmacokinetic enzyme turnover model was developed for the first time to capture DCA autoinhibition, gastrointestinal region-dependent absorption, and time-dependent change in bioavailability in rats. The maximum rate constant for DCA-induced GSTZ1-1 inactivation is estimated to be 0.96/h, which is 110 times that of the rate constant for GSTZ1-1 natural degradation (0.00875/h). The model-predicted DCA concentration that corresponds to 50% of maximum enzyme inhibition (EC50) is 4.32 mg/L. The constructed pharmacokinetic enzyme turnover model, when applied to human data, could be used to predict the accumulation of DCA after repeated oral dosing, guide selection of dosing regimens in clinical studies, and facilitate clinical development of DCA.

Keywords: bioavailability; inhibition; pharmacokinetics; physiological model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dichloroacetic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Dichloroacetic Acid