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J Pharm Sci. 1998 Apr;87(4):403-10.

Human intestinal permeability.

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Department of Pharmacy, Group of Biopharmaceutics, Uppsala University, Sweden.


This review focuses on permeability measurements in humans, briefly discussing different perfusion techniques, the relevance of human Peff values, and various aspects of in vivo transport mechanisms. In addition, human Peff values are compared with corresponding data from three preclinical transport models. The regional human jejunal perfusion technique has been validated in several important ways. One of the most important findings is that there is a good correlation between the measured human effective permeability values and the extent of absorption of drugs in humans determined by pharmacokinetic studies. Estimations of the absorption half-lives from the measured Peff agree very well with the time to maximal amount of the dose absorbed achieved after an oral dose in humans. We have also shown that it is possible to determine the Peff for carrier-mediated transported compounds and to classify them according to the proposed biopharmaceutical classification system (BCS). Furthermore, human in vivo permeabilities can be predicted using preclinical permeability models, such as in situ perfusion of rat jejunum, the Caco-2 model, and excised intestinal segments in the Ussing chamber. The permeability of passively transported compounds can be predicted with a particularly high degree of accuracy. However, special care must be taken for drugs with a carrier-mediated transport mechanism, and a scaling factor has to be used. Finally, the data obtained in vivo in humans emphasize the need for more clinical studies investigating the effect of physiological in vivo factors and molecular mechanisms influencing the transport of drugs across the intestinal and as well as other membrane barriers. It will also be important to study the effect of antitransport mechanisms (multidrug resistance, MDR), such as efflux by P-glycoprotein(s) and gut wall metabolism, for example CYP 3A4, on bioavailability.

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