Combined application of parallel membrane permeability assay and Caco-2 permeability assays in drug discovery
Data from permeability profiling using the parallel artificial membrane permeability assay (PAMPA) and cell monolayer (Caco-2 and MDR1-MDCKII) methods were compared for two published compound sets and one in-house set. A majority of compounds in each set correlated (R(2) = 0.76-0.92), indicating the predominance of passive diffusion in the permeation of these compounds. Compounds that did not correlate grouped into two subsets. One subset had higher PAMPA permeability than cell monolayer permeability and consisted of compounds that are subject to secretory mechanisms: efflux or reduced passive diffusion of bases under Caco-2 when run under a pH gradient. The other subset had higher cell monolayer permeability than PAMPA permeability and consisted of compounds that are subject to absorptive mechanisms: paracellular, active transport, or increased passive diffusion of acids under Caco-2 when run under a pH gradient. Given the characteristics of the two methods, these studies suggest how PAMPA and Caco-2 can be synergistically applied for efficient and rapid investigation of permeation mechanisms in drug discovery. During early discovery, all compounds can be rapidly screened using PAMPA at low pH and neutral pH to assess passive diffusion permeability to indicate potential for gastrointestinal and cell assay permeation. During intermediate discovery, selected compounds can be additionally assayed by apical-to-basolateral Caco-2, which, in combination with PAMPA data, indicates susceptibility to additional permeation mechanisms (secretory and absorptive). During mid-to-late discovery, selected candidates can be examined in detail via multiple directional Caco-2 experiments and with transporter inhibitors for complete characterization of permeation mechanisms.
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