Enhanced permeability of the antimicrobial agent 2,5-bis(4-amidinophenyl)furan across Caco-2 cell monolayers via its methylamidoidme prodrug

Pharm Res. 2002 Nov;19(11):1689-95. doi: 10.1023/a:1020957430400.


Purpose: DB75 [2.5-bis(4-amidinophenyl)furan] is a promising antimicrobial agent although it has poor oral potency. In contrast, its novel prodrug, 2,5-bis(4-amidinophenyl)furan-bis-O-methylamidoxime (DB289). has excellent oral potency. The mechanisms of transport of DB289 and DB75 across intestinal epithelium have been investigated in these studies to understand differences in their oral potency.

Methods: Caco-2 cell monolayers were used as an in vitro model to examine the mechanisms of transport of DB289 and DB75. Samples collected from the transport studies were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet and fluorescence detection.

Results: A low permeability coefficient (3.8 x 10(-7) cm/s for transport in apical [AP] to basolateral [BL] direction) and high sensitivity to extracellular Ca2+ suggest that AP to BL transport of DB75 across Caco-2 cell monolayers occurs predominantly via a paracellular route. DB289 has an 85-fold higher transport rate (322.0 x 10(-7) cm/s for transport in the AP to BL direction) across Caco-2 monolayers than that of DB75. This, with its insensitivity to extracellular Ca2+ indicates that AP to BL transport of DB289 across Caco-2 cell monolayers occurs predominantly via a transcellular route.

Conclusions: DB75 is transported across Caco-2 cell monolayers predominantly via paracellular pathways, whereas the prodrug DB289 is transported via transcellular pathways. This could account for the much higher oral activity of DB289 over DB75.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacokinetics*
  • Benzamidines / chemistry
  • Benzamidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Caco-2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Permeability / drug effects
  • Prodrugs / chemistry
  • Prodrugs / pharmacokinetics*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Benzamidines
  • Prodrugs
  • furamidine
  • pafuramidine