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, 25 (2-3), 211-20

pH-Dependent Passive and Active Transport of Acidic Drugs Across Caco-2 Cell Monolayers


pH-Dependent Passive and Active Transport of Acidic Drugs Across Caco-2 Cell Monolayers

Sibylle Neuhoff et al. Eur J Pharm Sci.


The aim of this study was to investigate pH-dependent passive and active transport of acidic drugs across Caco-2 cells. Therefore, the bidirectional pH-dependent transport of two acidic drugs, indomethacin and salicylic acid, across Caco-2 cells was studied in the physiological pH range of the gastrointestinal tract. The transport of both drugs decreased with increased pH, as expected from the pH-partition hypothesis. Net absorption occurred when the basolateral pH exceeded the apical pH. Concentration dependence and transporter inhibition studies indicated passive transport for indomethacin and a mixture of pH-dependent passive and active influx for salicylic acid. Unexpectedly, active and passive drug transport results were indistinguishable in temperature dependency studies. The transport of salicylic acid (apical pH 5.0; basolateral pH 7.4) was partly blocked by inhibitors of the proton-dependent transporters MCT1 (SLC16A1) and OATP-B (SLC21A9, SLCO2B1). This study shows that the asymmetry in bidirectional transport of acidic drugs is affected by both passive and active components in the presence of pH gradients across Caco-2 cells. Thus, combined studies of concentration-dependency and transport-inhibition are preferred when acidic drug transport is studied in a pH gradient. The findings of this in vitro study can be extrapolated to in vivo situations involving an acidic microclimate.

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