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J Pharm Pharmacol. 1998 Sep;50(9):989-96.

Pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of (+/-)-3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxy-5'-O-(2-bromomyristoyl)thymidine, a prodrug of 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (AZT) in mice.

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Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


The in-vivo biodistribution and pharmacokinetics in mice of 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (1, AZT), 2-bromomyristic acid (2) and their common prodrug, (+/-)-3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxy-5'-O-(2-bromomyristoyl)thymidine (3) are reported. The objectives of the work were to enhance the anti-human immunodeficiency virus and anti-fungal effects of 1 and 2 by improving their delivery to the brain and liver. The pharmacokinetics of AZT (beta t1/2 (elimination, or beta-phase, half-life) = 112.5 min; AUC (area under the plot of concentration against time) = 29.1 +/- 2.9 micromol g(-1) min; CL (blood clearance) = 10.5 +/- 1.1 mL min(-1) kg(-1)) and its ester prodrug (3, beta t1/2 = 428.5 min; AUC = 17.3 +/- 4.7 micromol g(-1) min; CL = 17.6 +/- 4.8 mL min(-1) kg(-1) were compared after intravenous injection of equimolar doses (0.3 mmol kg(-1)) via the tail vein of Balb/c mice (25-30 g). The prodrug was rapidly converted to AZT in-vivo, but plasma levels of AZT (peak concentration 0.17 micromol g(-1)) and AUC (12.3 micromol min g(-1)) were lower than observed after AZT administration (peak concentration 0.36 micromol g(-1); AUC 29.1 micromol min g(-1). The prodrug also accumulated rapidly in the liver immediately after injection, resulting in higher concentrations of AZT than observed after administration of AZT itself (respective peak concentrations 1.11 and 0.81 micromol g(-1); respective AUCs 42.5 and 12.7 micromol min g(-1)). Compared with doses of AZT itself, 3 also led to significantly higher brain concentration of AZT (25.7 compared with 9.8 nmol g(-1)) and AUCs (2.8 compared with 1.4 micromol min g(-1)). At the doses used in this study the antifungal agent 2-bromomyristic acid was measurable in plasma and brain within only 2 min of injection. Hepatic concentrations of 2-bromomyristic acid were higher for at least 2 h after dosing with 3 than after dosing with the acid itself. In summary, comparative biodistribution studies of AZT and its prodrug showed that the prodrug led to higher concentrations of AZT in the brain and liver. Although the prodrug did not result in measurably different concentrations of 2-bromomyristic acid in the blood and brain, it did lead to levels in the liver which were higher than those achieved by dosing with the acid itself.

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