Caco-2 permeability of weakly basic drugs predicted with the double-sink PAMPA pKa(flux) method

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2005 Mar;24(4):333-49. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2004.11.011. Epub 2005 Jan 20.


The aim of this study was to analyze pH-dependent permeability of cationic drugs in Caco-2 cell monolayers using the pK(a)(flux) method and to correlate the results with those obtained in PAMPA (parallel artificial membrane permeability assay). The pH-dependent permeability of verapamil and propranolol was studied in Caco-2 cell monolayers. The data were subsequently processed using software developed for the PAMPA pK(a)(flux) method. Literature values for an additional nine cationic drugs were also analyzed. Double-Sink PAMPA data were also obtained for the same cationic drugs, to compare with the Caco-2 data. The Algorithm Builder program was then used to develop a predictive model of Caco-2 permeability based on PAMPA permeability and calculated Abraham molecular descriptors. From the relationship between permeability and pH it was shown that in PAMPA only the uncharged form of the drugs permeated across the membrane barrier, while charged and ionized forms of the drugs were significantly permeable in Caco-2. The charged-form permeability, P(i), was therefore determined and subsequently subtracted from all permeability coefficients in Caco-2 prior to the comparison with PAMPA. The resulting intrinsic permeability coefficients (P(o)) obtained in Caco-2 were successfully related to those derived from the PAMPA model. In this study we have shown that permeability coefficients obtained in PAMPA can predict the passive transcellular permeability in Caco-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Permeability / drug effects
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations