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Drug Metab Dispos. 2006 Apr;34(4):591-9. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

Empirical validation of a rat in vitro organ slice model as a tool for in vivo clearance prediction.

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Pharmacokinetics and Drug Delivery, Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration, A. Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.


Tissue slices have been shown to be a valuable tool to predict metabolism of novel drugs. However, besides the numerous advantages of their use for this purpose, some potential drawbacks also exist, including reported poor penetration of drugs into the inner cell layers of slices and loss of metabolic capacity during prolonged incubation, leading to underprediction of metabolic clearance. In the present study, we empirically identified (and quantified) sources of underprediction using rat tissue slices of lung, intestine, kidney, and liver and found that thin liver slices (+/-100 mum) metabolized model substrates (7-hydroxycoumarin, testosterone, warfarin, 7-ethoxycoumarin, midazolam, haloperidol, and quinidine) as rapidly as isolated hepatocytes. Furthermore, it was found that organ slices remain metabolically active for sufficient periods of incubation, enabling study of the kinetics of low clearance compounds. In addition, we determined the influence of albumin on the clearance prediction of six model substrates. For three of these substrates, the intrinsic clearance in the presence of albumin was approximately 3 times higher than that obtained from incubations without albumin, but corrected for unbound fraction. This resulted in a much more accurate prediction of in vivo whole body metabolic clearance for these compounds. Collectively, these results show that drawbacks of the use of slices for clearance prediction are largely surmountable. Provided that thin liver slices and physiological albumin concentration are used, whole body metabolic clearance is predicted with acceptable (2-fold) accuracy with organ slices. These results emphasize the applicability of organ slices in this field of research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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