Permeability characteristics of piperine on oral absorption--an active alkaloid from peppers and a bioavailability enhancer

Indian J Exp Biol. 1998 Jan;36(1):46-50.


Piperine, [1-[5-[1,3-benzodioxol-5-yl]-1-oxo-2,4, pentadienyl] piperidine], is a pungent alkaloid present in Piper nigrum Linn, and P. longum Linn. It is shown to enhance the bioavailability of various structurally and therapeutically diverse drugs. A concise mechanism responsible for its bioavailability enhancing action is poorly understood. This study is an effort to understand the absorption dynamics of piperine in intestine on oral absorption. It encompasses intestinal everted sacs as an experimental model. Cycloheximide treatment and exclusion of Na+ salts from incubating medium were the variables used. Absorption half life, absorption rate, absorption clearance and apparent permeability co-efficient were computed from the data. Experiments to denote physico-chemical characteristics of this moiety exhibited that it is a weak base, highly lipophilic in nature with partial solubility in aqueous media. It exhibited passive diffusion constituting non-saturable absorption kinetics. Transport of piperine was not resisted by UWL and was proposed to be absorbed through transcellular pathway. It displayed short absorption clearance and high apparent permeability co-efficient. Data thus obtained suggested that piperine is absorbed very fast across the intestinal barrier. It may act as an apolar molecule and form apolar complex with drugs and solutes. It may modulate membrane dynamics due to its easy partitioning thus helping in efficient permeability across the barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Alkaloids*
  • Animals
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Biological Availability
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Permeability
  • Piperidines / administration & dosage
  • Piperidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Rats
  • Spices


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • piperine