Toxicol Res.  2013 Mar;29(1):53-60.

Milk Transfer and Toxicokinetics of Valproic Acid in Lactating Cynomolgus Monkeys

  • 1Korea Institute of Toxicology, KRICT, Daejeon, Korea.


Studies on milk transfer of drugs in non-human primates (NHPs) are among the crucial components in the assessment of peri- and postnatal toxicity because of the similarity between NHPs and humans. To evaluate the milk transfer of valproic acid (VPA) in NHPs, the toxicokinetics of VPA, an antiepileptic drug, were studied in pregnant cynomolgus monkeys. VPA was administered once daily to pregnant cynomolgus monkeys at doses of 0, 30, 90, and 270 mg/kg by oral gavage from Day 100 of gestation (GD 100) to Day 31 of lactation (LD 31). Concentrations of VPA and its metabolite, 4-ene-VPA, in the maternal plasma on GD 100, GD 140, and LD 30, and concentrations of VPA and 4-ene-VPA in the offspring plasma and milk on LDs 30 and 31, respectively, were quantified using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). After administration of a single oral dose of VPA to pregnant monkeys on GD 100, the concentrations of VPA and 4-ene-VPA were generally quantifiable in the plasma of all treatment groups up to 24 hr after administration, which showed that VPA was absorbed and that the monkeys were systemically exposed to VPA and 4-ene-VPA. After administration of multiple doses of VPA to the monkeys, VPA was detected in the pup's plasma and in milk taken on LD 30 and LD 31, respectively, which showed that VPA was transferred via milk, and the pup was exposed to VPA. Further, the concentration of VPA in the milk increased with an increase in the dose. Extremely low concentrations of 4-ene VPA were detected in the milk and in the pup plasma. In conclusion, pregnant monkeys were exposed to VPA and 4-ene-VPA after oral administration of VPA at doses of 30, 90, and 270 mg/kg/day from GD 100 to LD 31. VPA was transferred via milk, and the VPA exposure to the pup increased with an increase in the dose of VPA. The metabolite, 4-ene VPA, was present in extremely low concentrations (< 0.5 microg/ml) in the milk and in the pup plasma. In this study, we established methods to confirm milk transfer in NHPs, such as mating and diagnosis of pregnancy by examining gestational sac with ultrasonography, collection of milk and pup plasma and determination of toxicokinetics, using cynomolgus monkeys.


Non-human primate; Cynomolgus monkey; Milk transfer; Toxicokinetics; Valproic acid; 4-ene valproic acid; LC/MS/MS

MeSH Terms

Administration, Oral
Chromatography, Liquid
Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
Gestational Sac
Macaca fascicularis
Tandem Mass Spectrometry
Valproic Acid
Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
Valproic Acid
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