Extension of a PBPK model for ethylene glycol and glycolic acid to include the competitive formation and clearance of metabolites associated with kidney toxicity in rats and humans

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A previously developed PBPK model for ethylene glycol and glycolic acid was extended to include glyoxylic acid, oxalic acid, and the precipitation of calcium oxalate that is associated with kidney toxicity in rats and humans. The development and evaluation of the PBPK model was based upon previously published pharmacokinetic studies coupled with measured blood and tissue partition coefficients and rates of in vitro metabolism of glyoxylic acid to oxalic acid, glycine and other metabolites using primary hepatocytes isolated from male Wistar rats and humans. Precipitation of oxalic acid with calcium in the kidneys was assumed to occur only at concentrations exceeding the thermodynamic solubility product for calcium oxalate. This solubility product can be affected by local concentrations of calcium and other ions that are expressed in the model using an ion activity product estimated from toxicity studies such that calcium oxalate precipitation would be minimal at dietary exposures below the NOAEL for kidney toxicity in the sensitive male Wistar rat. The resulting integrated PBPK predicts that bolus oral or dietary exposures to ethylene glycol would result in typically 1.4–1.6-fold higher peak oxalate levels and 1.6–2-fold higher AUC's for calcium oxalate in kidneys of humans as compared with comparably exposed male Wistar rats over a dose range of 1–1000 mg/kg. The converse (male Wistar rats predicted to have greater oxalate levels in the kidneys than humans) was found for inhalation exposures although no accumulation of calcium oxalate is predicted to occur until exposures are well in excess of the theoretical saturated vapor concentration of 200 mg/m3. While the current model is capable of such cross-species, dose, and route-of-exposure comparisons, it also highlights several areas of potential research that will improve confidence in such predictions, especially at low doses relevant for most human exposures.

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