Caco-2 Cell Monolayers as a Model for Drug Transport Across the Intestinal Mucosa
Human colon adenocarcinoma (Caco-2) cells, when grown on semipermeable filters, spontaneously differentiate in culture to form confluent monolayers which both structurally and functionally resemble the small intestinal epithelium. Because of this property they show promise as a simple, in vitro model for the study of drug absorption and metabolism during absorption in the intestinal mucosa. In the present study, the transport of several model solutes across Caco-2 cell monolayers grown in the Transwell diffusion cell system was examined. Maximum transport rates were found for the actively transported substance glucose and the lipophilic solutes testosterone and salicyclic acid. Slower rates were observed for urea, hippurate, and saliylate anions and were correlated with the apparent partition coefficient of the solute. These results are similar to what is found with the same compounds in other, in vivo absorption model systems. It is concluded that the Caco-2 cell system may give useful predictions concerning the oral absorption potential of new drug substances.
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