Peer-Reviewed Publications

      Deconvolution of systemic pharmacokinetics predicts inhaled aerosol dosimetry of nicotine

      Kolli, A. R.; Calvino-Martin, F.; Kuczaj, A. K.; Wong, E. T.; Titz, B.; Xiang, Y.; Lebrun, S.; Schlage, W. K.; Vanscheeuwijck, P.; Hoeng, J.

      Nov 3, 2022

      Absorption of inhaled compounds can occur from multiple sites based on upper and lower respiratory tract deposition, and clearance mechanisms leading to differential local and systemic pharmacokinetics. Deriving inhaled aerosol dosimetry and local tissue concentrations for nose-only exposure in rodents and inhaled products in humans is challenging. In this study we use inhaled nicotine as an example to identify regional respiratory tract deposition, absorption fractions, and their contribution toward systemic pharmacokinetics in rodents and humans. A physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model was constructed to describe the disposition of nicotine and its major metabolite, cotinine. The model description for the lungs was simplified to include an upper respiratory tract region with active mucociliary clearance and a lower respiratory tract region. The PBPK model parameters such as rate of oral absorption, metabolism and clearance were fitted to the published nicotine and cotinine plasma concentrations post systemic administration and oral dosing. The fractional deposition of inhaled aerosol in the upper and lower respiratory tract regions was estimated by fitting the plasma concentrations. The model predicted upper respiratory tract deposition was 63.9% for nose-only exposure to nicotine containing nebulized aqueous aerosol in rats and 60.2% for orally inhaled electronic vapor product in humans. A marked absorption of nicotine from the upper respiratory tract and the gastrointestinal tract for inhaled aqueous aerosol contributed to the differential systemic pharmacokinetics in rats and humans. The PBPK model derived dosimetry shows that the current aerosol dosimetry models with their posteriori application using independent aerosol physicochemical characterization to predict aerosol deposition are insufficient and will need to consider complex interplay of inhaled aerosol evolutionary process. While the study highlights the needs for future research, it provides a preliminary framework for interpreting pharmacokinetics of inhaled aerosols to facilitate the analysis of in vivo exposure-responses for pharmacological and toxicological assessments.