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Whole-Body Autoradiography In Drug Discovery

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In the drug discovery process the pharmacokinetic screening, drug stability studies, evaluation of metabolites, CYP involvement, enzyme induction and inhibition, and excretion studies play a major role. The use of more sensitive and novel detection systems have made the discovery process less cumbersome than in previous years. In particular, the use of whole-body autoradiography (WBA) for tissue distribution, which was once considered an impractical tool, owing to the long turn around time (4-10 weeks), is coming to the forefront for rapidly resolving issues encountered in discovery. In today's research environment early lead compounds can be radio-labeled and whole-body sections imaged quickly (3-5 days) using new techniques, which has made 14C- and 3H-WBA a viable tool. The technique has been used in vivo in species from mice to monkeys, and ex vivo and / or in vitro in larger animals and humans. WBA has considerable merit in identifying ‘pharmacodefficient’ compounds and providing insight on mechanistic questions. WBA data can provide information related to tissue pharmacokinetics, routes of elimination, CYP or Pgp mediated drug-drug interactions, tissue distribution, site specific drug localization and retention, metabolism, clearance, compound solubility issues, routes of administration, penetration into specific targets (e.g., tumors), tissue binding (e.g., melanin), and interspecies kinetics. Thus, WBA is quickly becoming part of the battery of studies conducted during the lead optimization process to select optimal drug candidates. Examples of the use of the WBA tool in early discovery are reviewed.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

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  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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