Investigating the modulation of oral drug absorption using in vitro models
Dipeptides can be absorbed into cells via the dipeptide transporter (which also transported tripeptides and dipeptide derivatives). The optimum conditions for measuring the inhibition of Gly-Pro uptake in Caco-2 cells were identified. A number of structure-activity relationships were identified. These included the effects of increasing the amino-acid chain-length, and the presence of a thiol or hydroxyl group in the side-chain increased IC50 while the presence of a hydroxyl group did not. The benzyl esters had lower or equal IC50 values compared to the parent dipeptides while the methyl esters had higher values. These results indicated that while molecular properties did affect IC50, the size, charge and composition of three particular groups caused the most significant effects, supporting the structure-activity relationship identified. An assay was developed using calcein-AM to show the inhibition of p-glycoprotein activity. There was no significant change due to the presence of mannitol but there was in the presence of clyclosporin A (p<0.01). Incubating the cells with the test solution for 30 minutes before the addition of the ester resulted in a significant (p<0.001) difference. The assay was specific for p-glycoprotein, as the presence MRP inhibitors had no effect (p>0.05). The modified protocol allowed the identification of p-glycoprotein inhibitors quickly and simply using a cell suspension of unmodified cells. The clinically relevant buffering of grapefruit juice to pH 7 led to a four-fold increase in intracellular calcein and hence significant inhibition of p-glycoprotein. Buffered orange and lemon juices had no effect on the assay. Flavone derivatives had previously been found to be inhibitors of CYP3A4 yet neither naringin nor naringenin had any significant effect at concentrations found in grapefruit juice. Of the other (non-grapefruit) flavone derivatives tested, hesperidin, found in orange juice, had no significant effect, kaempferol and rutin also had no effect while genistein significantly inhibited p-glycoprotein (results that support previous studies).