Computational disease model of phenobarbital-induced acute attacks in an acute intermittent porphyria mouse model
Introduction. Acute intermittent porphyria (AIP) is characterized by hepatic over-production of the heme precursors when aminolevulinic acid (ALA)-synthase 1 is induced by endogenous or environmental factors. The aim of this study was to develop a semi-mechanistic computational model to characterize urine accumulation of heme precursors during acute attacks based on experimental pharmacodynamics data and support the development of new therapeutic strategies. Methods: Male AIP mice received recurrent phenobarbital challenge starting on days 1, 9, 16 and 30. 24-h urine excretion of ALA, porphobilinogen (PBG) and porphyrins from challenges Dl, D9 and D30 constituted the training data set to build the mechanistic model using the population approach. In a second study, porphyrin and porphyrin precursor excretion from challenge D16 were used as a validation data set. Results: The computational model presented the following features: (i) urinary excretion of ALA, PBG and porphyrins was governed by unmeasured circulating heme precursor amounts, (ii) the circulating amounts of ALA and PBG were the precursors of circulating amounts of PBG and porphyrins, respectively, and (iii) the phenobarbital effect linearly increased the synthesis of circulating ALA and PBG levels. The model displayed good parameter precision (coefficient of variation below 32% in all parameters), and adequately described the experimental data. Finally, a theoretical hemin effect was implemented to illustrate the applicability of the model to dosage optimization in drug therapies. Conclusions: A semi-mechanistic disease model was successfully developed to describe the temporal evolution of urinary heme precursor excretion during recurrent biochemical-induced acute attacks in AIP mice. This model represents the first computational approach to explore and optimize current and new therapies.