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Curr Opin Mol Ther. 2010 Aug;12(4):461-70.

Subcutaneous administration of biotherapeutics: current experience in animal models.

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Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc, 2600 Hilltop Drive, Richmond, CA 94806, USA.


In recent years, many peptide- and protein-based biotherapeutics have been approved for subcutaneous (SC) delivery. The mechanisms and factors affecting the uptake and distribution of such large molecules following SC administration are not well understood. This review outlines the factors influencing uptake, transport, distribution and species differences following the SC administration of biotherapeutics; improved understanding of these factors will facilitate the appropriate selection of animal models and improve predictivity for the bioavailability of drugs in humans. Morphological differences between species, such as the presence or absence of the panniculus carnosus muscle, may have significant effects on SC delivery. Following SC administration, small molecules, peptides and small proteins (< or = 16 kDa) primarily diffuse through the blood vessel walls directly into capillaries, whereas large molecules are taken up into the more porous lymphatics. Critical parameters that may impact the availability in blood of compounds administered SC, other than molecular weight, include host-related factors, such as animal motility, age and gender, structural and functional characteristics of the SC interstitium and the lymphatics, and extrinsic factors, such as anesthesia, injection technique, potential precipitation or degradation at the injection site, and the use of SC delivery technology. A review of regulatory approval information for SC administered biotherapeutics is provided for comparison. Careful control of parameters during SC administration will reduce inter-individual and inter-species variability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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