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Pharm Res. 1991 Jun;8(6):728-33.

Role of enzymatic lability in the corneal and conjunctival penetration of timolol ester prodrugs in the pigmented rabbit.

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University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Los Angeles 90033.


The main objective of this study was to investigate how enzymatic lability would affect the extent of corneal and conjunctival penetration of a series of alkyl, cycloalkyl, and aryl ester prodrugs of timolol in the pigmented rabbit. Enzymatic lability of the prodrugs was studied in corneal epithelial and conjunctival homogenates, while their corneal and conjunctival penetration was determined using the isolated tissues in the modified Ussing chamber. The straight-chain alkyl and the unsubstituted cycloalkyl esters were hydrolyzed more rapidly than their corresponding branched-chain and substituted analogues as well as the aryl esters. The corneal and conjunctival penetration of all prodrugs, regardless of enzymatic lability, varied parabolically with lipophilicity. Moreover, the enzymatically more labile straight-chain alkyl esters penetrated the cornea and the conjunctiva more readily than the more stable branched-chain esters of comparable lipophilicity. Enzymatic lability is, therefore, an additional factor that should be considered in designing alkyl ester prodrugs with improved ocular drug delivery characteristics. Enzymatic lability does not, however, play as important a role as lipophilicity in the corneal and conjunctival penetration of cycloalkyl and aryl ester prodrugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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