PKQuest: Volatile solutes - Application to enflurane, nitrous oxide, halothane, methoxyflurane and toluene pharmacokinetics

David G. Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The application of physiologically based pharmacokinetic models (PBPK) to human studies has been limited by the lack of the detailed organ information that is required for this analysis. PKQuest is a new generic PBPK that is designed to avoid this problem by using a set of "standard human" default parameters that are applicable to most solutes. Results: PKQuest is used to model the human pharmacokinetics of the volatile solutes. A "standard human" value for the lipid content of the blood and each organ (klip) was chosen. This set of klip and the oil/water partition coefficient then specifies the organ/blood partition for each organ. Using this approach, the pharmacokinetics of inert volatile solute is completely specified by just 2 parameters: the water/air and oil/water partition coefficients. The model predictions of PKQuest were in good agreement with the experimental data for the inert solutes enflurane and nitrous oxide and the metabolized solutes halothane and toluene. Methods: The experimental data that was modeled was taken from previous publications. Conclusions: This approach greatly increases the predictive power of the PBPK. For inert volatile solutes the pharmacokinetics are determined just from the water/air and oil/water partition coefficient. Methoxyflurane cannot be modeled by this PBPK because the arterial and end tidal partial pressures are not equal (as assumed in the PBPK). This inequality results from the "washin-washout" artifact in the large airways that is established for solutes with large water/air partition coefficients. PKQuest and the worked examples are available on the web [].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalBMC Anesthesiology
StatePublished - Aug 15 2002


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