Blood-to-brain transfer of various oxicams: effects of plasma binding on their brain delivery

Pharm Res. 1997 May;14(5):650-6. doi: 10.1023/a:1012165414610.


Purpose: The objective of this work was to assess the influence of binding to plasma proteins and to serum on the brain extraction of four antiinflammatory oxicams.

Methods: The brain extraction of isoxicam, tenoxicam, meloxicam and piroxicam was investigated in rats using the carotid injection technique. Blood protein binding parameters were determined by equilibrium dialysis using human serum, human serum albumin (HSA) and alpha-l-acid glycoprotein (AAG) solutions at various concentrations.

Results: All oxicams had low values of brain extraction, between 19% and 39% when dissolved in serum, i.e. under physiological conditions. Brain efflux rate constants calculated from the wash-out curves were the same in the absence or presence of serum. Brain efflux was inversely related to the polarity of the oxicams, such that the higher their H-bonding capacity, the lower their brain efflux. The free dialyzable drug fraction was inversely related to protein concentration. However, rat brain extraction was always higher than expected from in vitro measurements of the dialyzable fraction.

Conclusions: Except for piroxicam whose brain extraction was partially decreased in the presence of proteins, the serum unbound and initially bound fractions of oxicams both seem available for transfer into the brain. Modest affinities for AAG rule out any related effect. More surprising is the apparent lack of effect on brain transfer of the high-affinity binding to HSA and serum. The enhanced brain uptake of meloxicam in the presence of AAG could be a result of interactions between this globular protein and the endothelial wall.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / blood
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orosomucoid / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism
  • Thiazines / blood
  • Thiazines / pharmacokinetics*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Blood Proteins
  • Orosomucoid
  • Serum Albumin
  • Thiazines