Ustekinumab pharmacokinetics after subcutaneous administration in swine model

J Vet Sci. 2021 Sep;22(5):e47. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2021.22.e47. Epub 2021 May 27.


Background: Due to multiple similarities in the structure and physiology of human and pig skin, the pig model is extremely useful for biological drug testing after subcutaneous administration. Knowledge of the differences between subcutaneous injection sites could have a significant impact on the absorption phase and pharmacokinetic profiles of biological drugs.

Objectives: This study aimed to analyze the impact of administration site on pharmacokinetics and selected biochemical and hematological parameters after a single subcutaneous administration of ustekinumab in pigs. Drug concentrations in blood plasma were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Pharmacokinetic analyses were performed based on raw data using Phoenix WinNonlin 8.1 software and ThothPro v 4.1.

Methods: The study included 12 healthy, female, large white piglets. Each group received a single dose of ustekinumab given as a 1 mg/kg subcutaneous injection into the internal part of the inguinal fold or the external part of the inguinal fold.

Results: The differences in absorption rate between the internal and external parts of the inguinal fold were not significant. However, the time of maximal concentration, clearance, area under the curve calculated between zero and mean residence time and mean residence time between groups were substantially different (p > 0.05). The relative bioavailability after administration of ustekinumab into the external part of the inguinal fold was 40.36% lower than after administration of ustekinumab into the internal part of the inguinal fold.

Conclusions: Healthy breeding pigs are a relevant model to study the pharmacokinetic profile of subcutaneously administered ustekinumab.

Keywords: Swine; biologics; pharmacokinetics; skin; ustekinumab.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Dermatologic Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Models, Animal
  • Sus scrofa / metabolism*
  • Ustekinumab / pharmacokinetics*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Ustekinumab