Correlation of drug absorption with molecular surface properties

J Pharm Sci. 1996 Jan;85(1):32-9. doi: 10.1021/js950285r.


The correlation between dynamic surface properties of drug molecules and drug absorption in two common in vitro models of the intestinal wall (Caco-2 monolayers and rat intestinal segments) has been investigated. A homologous series of beta-adrenoreceptor antagonists were used as model compounds. Dynamic molecular surface properties, considering all low-energy conformations, of the compounds were calculated. The flexibility of the molecules was studied by molecular mechanics calculations (MM2) and the van der Waals' (vdW), and water accessible surface areas were calculated and averaged according to a Boltzmann distribution. Excellent correlations were obtained between the dynamic polar vdW surface areas and cell permeabilities in Caco-2 cells and rat ileum (r2 = 0.99 and 0.92, respectively). These correlations were stronger than those between calculated octanol/buffer partition coefficients (log Doct,7.4) and permeability (r2 = 0.80 and 0.73, respectively). Moreover, the calculated log Doct,7.4 values failed to rank the permeability coefficients through Caco-2 monolayers and rat ileum in the correct order. The results indicate that dynamic polar surface area is a promising alternative model for the prediction of oral drug absorption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / chemistry*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacokinetics*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Caco-2 Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Surface Properties
  • Thermodynamics


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists