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The aim of the study was to determine the effects on the transport of propranolol across monolayers of the human colon adenocarcinoma cell line, Caco-2, of forming a prodrug by conjugating to generation 3 (G3) and lauroyl-G3 PAMAM dendrimers. Propranolol is a poorly soluble drug and known substrate of the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) efflux transporter. Propranolol-G3 dendrimer conjugates were synthesised by surface attachment of two, four or six propranolol molecules. The apical (A) to basolateral (B) apparent permeability coefficient, P(app), of propranolol was increased and its B-->A P(app) decreased following conjugation to G3 dendrimers. Conjugation of propranolol to lauroyl-G3 dendrimers further increased its A-->B P(app). Our findings show that the A-->B P(app) of propranolol conjugates was reduced in the presence of the endocytosis inhibitor colchicine and was lower at 4 degrees C than at 37 degrees C, suggesting that the enhancement mechanism involves endocytosis-mediated transepithelial transport. The A-->B P(app) of conjugated propranolol was not altered in the presence of the P-gp inhibitor cyclosporin A suggesting that conjugation of drug to dendrimer allows the bypassing of the efflux transporter. The results suggest that dendrimer-drug prodrugs may be used to increase drug solubility and bypass drug efflux transporters, therefore increasing drug bioavailability.


Antony D'Emanuele, Rachaneekorn Jevprasesphant, Jeffrey Penny, David Attwood. The use of a dendrimer-propranolol prodrug to bypass efflux transporters and enhance oral bioavailability. Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society. 2004 Mar 24;95(3):447-53

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PMID: 15023456

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