Beyond the Rule of 5: Impact of PEGylation with Various Polymer Sizes on Pharmacokinetic Properties, Structure-Properties Relationships of mPEGylated Small Agonists of TGR5 Receptor

J Med Chem. 2021 Feb 11;64(3):1593-1610. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01774. Epub 2021 Jan 20.


PEGylation of therapeutic agents is known to improve the pharmacokinetic behavior of macromolecular drugs and nanoparticles. In this work, we performed the conjugation of polyethylene glycols (220-5000 Da) to a series of non-steroidal small agonists of the bile acids receptor TGR5. A suitable anchoring position on the agonist was identified to retain full agonistic potency with the conjugates. We describe herein an extensive structure-properties relationships study allowing us to finely describe the non-linear effects of the PEG length on the physicochemical as well as the in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetic properties of these compounds. When appending a PEG of suitable length to the TGR5 pharmacophore, we were able to identify either systemic or gut lumen-restricted TGR5 agonists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemical synthesis*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / chemistry
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • GPBAR1 protein, human
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Polyethylene Glycols