A population pharmacokinetic (popPK) model may be used to improve tacrolimus dosing and minimize under- and overexposure in kidney transplant recipients. It is unknown how body composition parameters relate to tacrolimus pharmacokinetics and which parameter correlates best with tacrolimus exposure. The aims of this study were to investigate which body composition parameter has the best association with the pharmacokinetics of tacrolimus and to describe this relationship in a popPK model.
Body composition was assessed using bio-impedance spectroscopy (BIS). Pharmacokinetic analysis was performed using nonlinear mixed effects modeling (NONMEM). Lean tissue mass, adipose tissue mass, over-hydration, and phase angle were measured with BIS and then evaluated as covariates. The final popPK model was evaluated using goodness-of-fit plots, visual predictive checks, and a bootstrap analysis.
In 46 kidney transplant recipients, 284 tacrolimus concentrations were measured. The base model without body composition parameters included age, plasma albumin, plasma creatinine, CYP3A4 and CYP3A5 genotypes, and hematocrit as covariates. After full forward inclusion and backward elimination, only the effect of the phase angle on clearance (dOFV =  - 13.406; p < 0.01) was included in the final model. Phase angle was positively correlated with tacrolimus clearance. The inter-individual variability decreased from 41.7% in the base model to 34.2% in the final model. The model was successfully validated.
The phase angle is the bio-impedance spectroscopic parameter that correlates best with tacrolimus pharmacokinetics. Incorporation of the phase angle in a popPK model can improve the prediction of an individual’s tacrolimus dose requirement after transplantation.

© 2022. The Author(s).