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Int J Pharm. 2006 Aug 31;320(1-2):104-13. Epub 2006 May 23.

Simultaneous modulation of transport and metabolism of acyclovir prodrugs across rabbit cornea: An approach involving enzyme inhibitors.

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Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 5005 Rockhill Road, Kansas City, MO 64110-2499, USA.


The aim of this study is to identify the class of enzymes responsible for the hydrolysis of amino acid and dipeptide prodrugs of acyclovir (ACV) and to modulate transport and metabolism of amino acid and dipeptide prodrugs of acyclovir by enzyme inhibitors across rabbit cornea. l-Valine ester of acyclovir, valacyclovir (VACV) and l-glycine-valine ester of acyclovir, gly-val-acyclovir (GVACV) were used as model compounds. Hydrolysis studies of VACV and GVACV in corneal homogenate were conducted in presence of various enzyme inhibitors. IC(50) values were determined for the enzyme inhibitors. Transport studies were conducted with isolated rabbit corneas at 34 degrees C. Complete inhibition of VACV hydrolysis was observed in the presence of Pefabloc SC (4-(2-aminoethyl)-benzenesulfonyl-fluoride) and PCMB (p-chloromercuribenzoic acid). Similar trend was also observed with GVACV in the presence of bestatin. IC(50) values of PCMB and bestatin for VACV and GVACV were found to be 3.81+/-0.94 and 0.34+/-0.08muM respectively. Eserine, tetraethyl pyrophosphate (TEPP) and diisopropyl fluorophosphate (DFP) also produced significant inhibition of VACV hydrolysis. Transport of VACV and GVACV across cornea showed decreased metabolic rate and modulation of transport in presence of PCMB and bestain respectively. The principle enzyme classes responsible for the hydrolysis of VACV and GVACV were carboxylesterases and aminopeptidases respectively. Enzyme inhibitors modulated the transport and metabolism of prodrugs simultaneously even though their affinity towards prodrugs was distinct. In conclusion, utility of enzyme inhibitors to modulate transport and metabolism of prodrugs appears to be promising strategy for enhancing drug transport across cornea.

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