Characterization of polymyxin B biodistribution and disposition in an animal model

Pooja Manchandani, Jian Zhou, Kimberly R. Ledesma, Luan D. Truong, Diana S.L. Chow, Jason L. Eriksen, Vincent H. Tam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Despite dose-limiting nephrotoxicity concerns, polymyxin B has resurged as the treatment of last resort for multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections. However, the pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and nephrotoxic properties of polymyxin B still are not thoroughly understood. The objective of this study was to provide additional insights into the overall biodistribution and disposition of polymyxin B in an animal model. Sprague-Dawley rats were dosed with intravenous polymyxin B (3 mg/kg of body weight). Drug concentrations in the serum, urine, bile, and tissue (brain, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, and skeletal muscle) samples over time were assayed by a validated methodology. Among all the organs evaluated, polymyxin B distribution was highest in the kidneys. The mean renal tissue/serum polymyxin B concentration ratios were 7.45 (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.63 to 10.27) at 3 h and 19.62 (95% CI, 5.02 to 34.22) at 6 h postdose. Intrarenal drug distribution was examined by immunostaining. Using a ratiometric analysis, proximal tubular cells showed the highest accumulation of polymyxin B (Mander's overlap coefficient, 0.998) among all cell types evaluated. Less than 5% of the administered dose was recovered in urine over 48 h, but all 4 major polymyxin B components were detected in the bile over 4 h. These findings corroborate previous results that polymyxin B is highly accumulated in the kidneys, but the elimination likely is via a nonrenal route. Biliary excretion could be one of the routes of polymyxin B elimination, and this should be further explored. The elucidation of mechanism(s) of drug uptake in proximal tubular cells is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1034
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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