Docci et al., 2022
Microphysiological systems (MPS) are complex and more physiologically realistic cellular in vitro tools that aim to provide more relevant human in vitro data for quantitative prediction of clinical pharmacokinetics while also reducing the need for animal testing. The PhysioMimix liver-on-a-chip integrates medium flow with hepatocyte culture and has the potential to be adopted for in vitro studies investigating the hepatic disposition characteristics of drug candidates. The current study focuses on liver-on-a-chip system exploration for multiple drug metabolism applications. Characterization of cytochrome P450 (CYP), UDPglucuronosyl transferase (UGT) and aldehyde oxidase (AO) activities was performed using 15 drugs and in vitro to in vivo extrapolation (IVIVE) was assessed for 12 of them. Next, the utility of the liver-on-a-chip for estimation of the fraction metabolized (fm) via specific biotransformation pathways of quinidine and diclofenac was established. Finally, the metabolite identification opportunities were also explored using efavirenz as an example drug with complex primary and secondary metabolism involving a combination of CYP, UGT and sulfotransferase enzymes. A key aspect of these investigations was the application of mathematical modeling for improved parameter calculation. Such approaches will be required for quantitative assessment of metabolism and/or transporter processes in systems where medium flow and system compartments result in non-homogeneous drug concentrations. In particular, modeling was used to explore the effect of evaporation from the medium and it was found that the intrinsic clearance (CLint) might be underestimated by up to 40% for low clearance compounds if evaporation is not accounted for. Modeling of liver-on-a-chip in vitro data also enhanced the approach to fm estimation allowing objective assessment of metabolism models of different complexity. The resultant diclofenac fm,UGT of 0.64 was highly comparable with values reported previously in the literature. The current study demonstrates the integration of mathematical modeling with experimental liver-on-a-chip studies and illustrates how this approach supports generation of high-quality of data from complex in vitro cellular systems.