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Questions about identifiability

From: Silke.Dittberner
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 09:01:21 +0200

Dear NONMEM users,

The PK of the compound we are working on can be described by a =
model with non-linear protein binding in the central and in the =
compartment, which from a physiological point of view makes complete =
The question we have is whether such model is identifiable having just =
plasma concentration (no binding information is available).

Therefore we want to simulate different kind of datasets and check if =
is able to re-estimate them properly.

        * Our first question was: "Is the structure itself in principle
                We simulated a dataset with 100 time points per subject and
no intra- or inter-individual variability and no residual error. =
data: plenty time points, no random error) Since under these conditions
the parameters could be re-estimated (parameter estimates were nearly
identical to the original ones, %SE is very small) we concluded that
the structure in principle is identifiable.
        * Our second question was: "Are the time points of the given
study sufficient to estimate all parameters assuming 'ideal' data?"
                We simulated the given dataset assuming no intra- or
inter-individual variability and no residual error. The parameter =
were again nearly identical to the original ones and %SE is still very
small (below 0.3 %).

        * Our third question was: "Could the parameters still be
re-estimated if we assume inter- and intra-subject variability for the
simulation step?"
                We simulated the given dataset assuming IIV, IOV and residual
error. Under these conditions, the parameter (fixed and random effect)
estimates are again similar, but not identical to the original ones, %SE
increased to about 9% (one exception is the SE% of the parameter for
the amount of peripheral binding sites which were estimated to be 16%).
However, when we re-estimate omitting the IIV and IOV, the estimated
parameters differ from the original ones and estimates for the =
binding becomes difficult to estimate.

The questions we have are:
1. Are these experiments sufficient to conclude on the model
2. Does it make sense that the fixed effect parameters differ from the
original ones when IIV and IOV are omitted in the estimation step in
constrast to when they are included in the simulation step? Shouldn't =
structure of the model remain stable?
3. How often would you simulate and re-estimate the third experiment?
4. Would you vary the initial estimates to check for any potential other
set of parameters? (If yes how often?)
5. One problem is that the complete model with IIV and IOV has quite
long run times (around 24h), do you think checking the model with just =
would be enough?
6. Do you have any other proposal to check for the identifiability of a

Your help is highly appreciated, thank you in advance,


Silke Dittberner
PhD student
Institute of Pharmacy
University Bonn

Received on Fri Apr 13 2007 - 03:01:21 EDT

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