Effect of structural modification of α-aminoxy peptides on their intestinal absorption and transport mechanism

Mol Pharm. 2011 Aug 1;8(4):1073-82. doi: 10.1021/mp1003866. Epub 2011 Jun 13.


A representative α-aminoxy peptide 1 has been demonstrated to have a potential for the treatment of human diseases associated with Cl(-) channel dysfunctions. However, its poor intestinal absorption was determined. The purpose of this study was to delineate the transport mechanism responsible for its poor absorption and also to prepare peptide analogues by structural modifications of 1 at its isobutyl side chains without changing the α-aminoxy core for retaining biological activity to improve the intestinal absorption. The poor intestinal absorption of 1 was proved to be due to the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) mediated efflux transport in Caco-2 cell monolayer, intestinal segments in Ussing chamber and rat single pass intestinal perfusion models. Four analogues with propionic acid (2), butanamine (3), methyl (4) and hydroxymethyl side chains (5) were synthesized and tested using the same models. Except for the permeability of 2, the absorbable permeability of the modified peptides in Caco-2 cell monolayer and their intestinal absorption in rats were significantly improved to 7-fold (3), 4-fold (4), 11-fold (5) and 36-fold (2), 42-fold (3), 55-fold (4), 102-fold (5), respectively, compared with 1 (P(app), 0.034 ± 0.003 × 10(-6) cm/s; P(blood), 1.61 ± 0.807 × 10(-6) cm/s). More interestingly, the structural modification remarkably altered transport mechanism of the peptides, leading to the conversion of the active transport via P-gp mediation (1, 2), to MRP mediation (3), MRP plus BCRP mediation (4) or a passive diffusion (5). Furthermore, P-gp mediated efflux transport of 1 and 2 was demonstrated to not alter the P-gp expression, while 1 but not 2 exhibited uncompetitive inhibitory effect on P-gp ATPase. The results demonstrated that intestinal absorption and transport mechanism of the α-aminoxy peptides varied significantly with different structures, and their absorption can be dramatically improved by structural modifications, which allow us to further design and prepare better α-aminoxy peptide candidates with appropriate pharmacokinetic fates, including intestinal absorption, for potential clinical use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Peptides / chemical synthesis
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • Peptides