BackgroundNicotine, the pharmacologically active substance in both tobacco and many electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) liquids, is responsible for the addiction that sustains cigarette smoking. With 8 million deaths worldwide annually, smoking remains one of the major causes of disability and premature death. However, nicotine also plays an important role in smoking cessation strategies.
ObjectivesThe aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive, whole-body, physiologically based pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PBPK/PD) model of nicotine and its major metabolite cotinine, covering various routes of nicotine administration, and to simulate nicotine brain tissue concentrations after the use of combustible cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine gums, and nicotine patches.
MethodsA parent-metabolite, PBPK/PD model of nicotine for a non-smoking and a smoking population was developed using 91 plasma and brain tissue concentration-time profiles and 11 heart rate profiles. Among others, cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2A6 and 2B6 enzymes were implemented, including kinetics for CYP2A6 poor metabolizers.
ResultsThe model is able to precisely describe and predict both nicotine plasma and brain tissue concentrations, cotinine plasma concentrations, and heart rate profiles. 100% of the predicted area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) and maximum concentration (Cmax) values meet the twofold acceptance criterion with overall geometric mean fold errors of 1.12 and 1.15, respectively. The administration of combustible cigarettes, e-cigarettes, nicotine patches, and nicotine gums was successfully implemented in the model and used to identify differences in steady-state nicotine brain tissue concentration patterns.
ConclusionsOur PBPK/PD model may be helpful in further investigations of nicotine dependence and smoking cessation strategies. As the model represents the first nicotine PBPK/PD model predicting nicotine concentration and heart rate profiles after the use of e-cigarettes, it could also contribute to a better understanding of the recent increase in youth e-cigarette use.