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Clin Pharmacokinet. 2005;44(9):895-913.

Microdialysis: current applications in clinical pharmacokinetic studies and its potential role in the future.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Division of Clinical Pharmacokinetics, Vienna University School of Medicine, Vienna General Hospital, Vienna, Austria.


Microdialysis is a probe-based sampling method, which, if linked to analytical devices, allows for the measurement of drug concentration profiles in selected tissues. During the last two decades, microdialysis has become increasingly popular for preclinical and clinical pharmacokinetic studies. The advantage of in vivo microdialysis over traditional methods relates to its ability to continuously sample the unbound drug fraction in the interstitial space fluid (ISF). This is of particular importance because the ISF may be regarded as the actual target compartment for many drugs, e.g. antimicrobial agents or other drugs mediating their action through surface receptors. In contrast, plasma concentrations are increasingly recognised as inadequately predicting tissue drug concentrations and therapeutic success in many patient populations. Thus, the minimally invasive microdialysis technique has evolved into an important tool for the direct assessment of drug concentrations at the site of drug delivery in virtually all tissues. In particular, concentrations of transdermally applied drugs, neurotransmitters, antibacterials, cytotoxic agents, hormones, large molecules such as cytokines and proteins, and many other compounds were described by means of microdialysis. The combined use of microdialysis with non-invasive imaging methods such as positron emission tomography and single photon emission tomography opened the window to exactly explore and describe the fate and pharmacokinetics of a drug in the body. Linking pharmacokinetic data from the ISF to pharmacodynamic information appears to be a straightforward approach to predicting drug action and therapeutic success, and may be used for decision making for adequate drug administration and dosing regimens. Hence, microdialysis is nowadays used in clinical studies to test new drug candidates that are in the pharmaceutical industry drug development pipeline.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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