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Biol Pharm Bull. 2000 Mar;23(3):334-8.

Species differences in oral bioavailability of methotrexate between rats and monkeys.

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Department of Drug Metabolism, Medical Research Laboratories, Wyeth Lederle Japan, Ltd., Shiki, Saitama.


The contributions of incomplete absorption and a first-pass effect to the low bioavailability (BA) of methotrexate (MTX) were evaluated pharmacokinetically in rats and monkeys which respectively have a lower and higher aldehyde oxidase (AO) activity than humans. Plasma concentration profiles of MTX in rats showed linear and nonlinear pharmacokinetics respectively after intravenous (i.v.) and oral dosing of 0.1, 0.5 or 2.5 mg/kg MTX. In rats, most of the dose was excreted as the parent compound into bile and urine after i.v. dosing of 0.5 mg/kg MTX, while the radioactivity was largely eliminated in expired air after oral dosing of 0.5 mg/kg 14C-MTX. Elimination in expired air fell markedly following antibiotics treatment. 7-Hydroxymethotrexate (7-OH-MTX), formed from MTX by AO, was detected in monkey plasma after i.v. and oral dosing of 0.5 mg/kg MTX, but not in rat plasma. The ratio of the cumulative urinary excretion of 7-OH-MTX to MTX in monkeys was higher after oral dosing than after i.v. dosing. The low BA in rats (10% at 0.5 mg/kg) was shown to be mainly due to incomplete absorption, including limited absorption and degradation to 2,4-diamino-N10-methylpteroic acid (DAMPA) and glutamic acid (Glu) by the carboxypeptidase of intestinal bacteria. The low BA in monkeys (5% at 0.5 mg/kg) was shown to be mainly due to the extensive first-pass effect, including metabolism to 7-OH-MTX.

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