Modulation of nonspecific binding in ultrafiltration protein binding studies

Pharm Res. 2003 Jul;20(7):1015-21. doi: 10.1023/a:1024406221962.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to reduce or prevent nonspecific binding (NSB) of compounds to ultrafiltration (UF) protein binding (PB) testing units.

Methods: UF units (regenerated cellulose, MWCO 10K) were used for PB and NSB measurements with or without pretreatment with 5% tween 80 (TW 80) or 5% benzalkonium chloride (BAK) on the filter membrane. Dosing solutions (10 microM) in human serum and pH 7.4 phosphate-buffered saline were centrifuged at 3,000 g and room temperature after 1-h incubation in UF testing units. In parallel, a 96-well equilibrium dialyzer was used for PB and NSB measurements in equilibrium dialysis (ED) at 37 degrees C for 4 h. Samples of UF and ED were analyzed by LC/MS or LSC.

Results: Severe NSB was observed for etoposide, hydrocortisone, propranolol, and vinblastine in UF. In contrast, TW 80 or BAK pre-treatment on the filter membrane decreased the NSB from 87-95% to 13-64% without causing a significant change in membrane integrity. When NSB was below 50% as a result of pretreating agents, PB data of marker compounds were comparable to those of ED.

Conclusions: The pretreated membrane with TW 80 or BAK showed significantly less NSB for compounds that had a tendency toward high membrane binding. A modified UF method with pretreatment improved the performance of UF and was able to produce comparable PB results to ED.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Ultrafiltration / methods


  • Blood Proteins
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations