Hydrogen bonding potential as a determinant of the in vitro and in situ blood-brain barrier permeability of peptides

Pharm Res. 1994 Mar;11(3):412-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1018969222130.


With the exception of various central nervous system (CNS)-required nutrients for which specific, saturable transport systems exist, the passage of most water-soluble solutes through the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is believed to depend largely on the lipid solubility of the solutes. Most peptides, therefore, do not enter the CNS because of their hydrophilic character. Recently, utilizing homologous series of model peptides and Caco-2 cell monolayers as a model of the intestinal mucosa, it was concluded that the principal determinant of peptide transport across the intestinal cellular membrane is the energy required to desolvate the polar amide bonds in the peptide (P. S. Burton et al., adv. Drug Deliv. Rev. 7:365, 1991). To determine whether this correlation can be extended to the BBB, the permeabilities of the same peptides were determined using an in vitro as well as an in situ BBB model. The peptides, blocked on the N- and C-terminal ends, consisted of D-phenylalanine (F) residues: AcFNH2, AcF2NH2, AcF3NH2, AcF2(NMeF)NH2, AcF(NMeF)2NH2, Ac(NMeF)3NH2, and Ac(NMeF)3NHMe. A good correlation among the permeabilities of these model peptides across the bovine brain microvessel endothelial cell (BBMEC) monolayers, an in vitro model of the BBB, and their permeabilities across the BBB in situ was observed (r = 0.928, P < 0.05). The permeabilities of these peptides did not correlate with the octanol-buffer partition coefficients of the peptides (r = 0.389 in vitro and r = 0.155 in situ; P < 0.05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Peptides