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Pharm Res. 1999 May;16(5):625-32.

Interplay between CYP3A-mediated metabolism and polarized efflux of terfenadine and its metabolites in intestinal epithelial Caco-2 (TC7) cell monolayers.

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Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Central Research, Collegeville, Pennsylvania 19426-0107, USA.



To further characterize cytochrome P450 (CYP) and P-glycoprotein (Pgp) expression in monolayers of the Caco-2 cell clone TC7, a cell culture model of the human intestinal epithelium. To study the interplay between CYP3A and Pgp as barriers to intestinal drug absorption in TC7 cells using terfenadine and its metabolites as substrates.


mRNA expression of eight CYPs and Pgp was investigated in TC7 and parental Caco-2 (Caco-2p) cell monolayers using RT-PCR. The CYP3A kinetics was determined in microsomes from both cell lines. The transport, metabolism and efflux of terfenadine and its metabolites were investigated in TC7 monolayers.


Both TC7 and Caco-2p cells expressed mRNA for Pgp and several important CYPs. However, mRNA for CYP3A4 was detectable anly from TC7 cells. The relative affinity of CYP3A for terfenadine metabolism in the two cell lines was comparable, but the maximum reaction rate in the TC7 cells was 8-fold higher. The rate of transport of terfenadine and its metabolites hydroxy-terfenadine (HO-T) and azacyclonol across TC7 monolayers was 7.1-, 3.5- and 2.1-fold higher, respectively, in the basolateral to apical direction than it was in the apical to basolateral (AP-BL) direction. Inhibition studies indicated that the efflux was mediated by Pgp. Ketoconazole increased the AP-BL transport terfenadine dramatically by inhibiting both terfenadine metabolism and Pgp efflux.


Cell culture models such as TC7 provide qualitative information on drug interactions involving intestinal CYP3A and Pgp.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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