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Phenol red (PR) is a widely used marker for water flux correction in studies of in situ perfusion, in which intestinal absorption usually leads to the underestimation of results. In this paper, we propose a novel marker polyethylene glycol (PEG)-PR (i.e., PR modified by PEGylation) with less permeability and evaluate its application in an in situ perfusion model in rats. PEG-PR was synthesized by the chemical conjunction of polyethylene glycol-4k/5k (PEG-4k/5k) and PR. The synthesized PEG-PR was then characterized using 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, ultraviolet (UV), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) analyses. The low permeability of PEG-PR was assessed using everted gut sac (EGS) methods. The apparent permeability coefficients (Papp, 3-8 × 10-7 cm/s) of PEG4k/5k-PR exhibited a nearly 15-fold reduction compared to that of PR. The different concentrations of PEG4k/5k-PR did not contribute to the Papp value or cumulative permeable percentage (about 0.02-0.06%). Furthermore, the larger molecular weight due to PEGylation (PEG5k-PR) enhanced the nonabsorbable effect. To evaluate the potential application of the novel marker, atenolol, ketoprofen, and metoprolol, which represent various biopharmaceutics classification system (BCS) classes, were selected as model drugs for the recirculation perfusion method. The water flux corrected by PEG4k/5k-PR reflected the accuracy due to the nonabsorbable effect, while the effective intestinal membrane permeability (Peff) of atenolol corrected by PEG4k/5k-PR showed a statistically significant increase (p < 0.05) in different intestinal segments. In conclusion, PEG-PR is a promising marker for the permeability estimation when using the in situ perfusion model in rats.


Guo Chen, Xingqi Min, Qunqun Zhang, Zhiqiang Zhang, Meiqiang Wen, Jun Yang, Meijuan Zou, Wei Sun, Gang Cheng. Synthesis and Evaluation of PEG-PR for Water Flux Correction in an In Situ Rat Perfusion Model. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2020 Nov 04;25(21)

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PMID: 33158074

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