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Review Article

Tissue Drug Concentration

[ Vol. 28 , Issue. 14 ]


Pietro Fagiolino and Marta Vázquez*   Pages 1109 - 1123 ( 15 )


Blood flow enables the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the different tissues of the human body. Drugs follow the same route as oxygen and nutrients; thus, drug concentrations in tissues are highly dependent on the blood flow fraction delivered. Although the free drug concentration in blood correlates with pharmacodynamics, the pharmacodynamics of a drug is primarily commanded by the drug concentrations in the aqueous spaces of bodily tissues. However, the concentrations of the drug are not homogeneous throughout the tissues, and they rarely reflect the free drug concentration in the blood. This heterogeneity is due to differences in the blood flow fraction delivered to the tissues and membrane transporters, efflux pumps, and metabolic enzymes. The rate of drug elimination from the body (systemic elimination) depends more on the driving force of drug elimination than on the free concentration of the drug at the site from which the drug is being eliminated. In fact, the actual free drug concentration in the tissues results from the balance between the input and output rates. In the present paper, we develop a theoretical concept regarding solute partition between intravascular and extravascular spaces; discuss experimental research on aqueous/non-aqueous solute partitioning and clinical research on microdialysis; present hypotheses to predict in-vivo elimination using parameters of in-vitro metabolism.


Solute partition, aqueous solvent, non-aqueous solvent, tissue drug concentration, tissue/blood-free drug concentration ratio, cardiac output distribution, efflux transporter, blood drug clearance, driving force concentration.


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