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Methodological issues in microdialysis sampling for pharmacokinetic studies.

de Lange, E.C.M., de Boer, A.G. and Breimer, D.D.

Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, 45(2-3), 125-148 (2000).

Microdialysis is an in vivo technique that permits monitoring of local concentrations of drugs and metabolites at specific sites in the body. Microdialysis has several characteristics, which makes it an attractive tool for pharmacokinetic research. About a decade ago the microdialysis technique entered the field of pharmacokinetic research, in the brain, and later also in peripheral tissues and blood. Within this period much has been learned on the proper use of this technique. Today, it has outgrown its child diseases and its potentials and limitations have become more or less well defined. As microdialysis is a delicate technique for which experimental factors appear to be critical with respect to the validity of the experimental outcomes, several factors should be considered. These include the probe; the perfusion solution; post-surgery interval in relation to surgical trauma, tissue integrity and repeated experiments; the analysis of microdialysate samples; and the quantification of microdialysate data. Provided that experimental conditions are optimized to give valid and quantitative results, microdialysis can provide numerous data points from a relatively small number of individual animals to determine detailed pharmacokinetic information. An example of one of the added values of this technique compared with other in vivo pharmacokinetic techniques, is that microdialysis reflects free concentrations in tissues and plasma. This gives the opportunity to assess information on drug transport equilibration across membranes such as the blood-brain barrier, which already has provided new insights. With the progress of analytical methodology, especially with respect to low volume/low concentration measurements and simultaneous measurement of multiple compounds, the applications and importance of the microdialysis technique in pharmacokinetic research will continue to increase.