Influence of Bile Composition on Membrane Incorporation of Transient Permeability Enhancers
Journal article, 2020

Transient permeability enhancers (PEs), such as caprylate, caprate, and salcaprozate sodium (SNAC), improve the bioavailability of poorly permeable macromolecular drugs. However, the effects are variable across individuals and classes of macromolecular drugs and biologics. Here, we examined the influence of bile compositions on the ability of membrane incorporation of three transient PEs-caprylate, caprate, and SNAC-using coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD). The availability of free PE monomers, which are important near the absorption site, to become incorporated into the membrane was higher in fasted-state fluids than that in fed-state fluids. The simulations also showed that transmembrane perturbation, i.e., insertion of PEs into the membrane, is a key mechanism by which caprylate and caprate increase permeability. In contrast, SNAC was mainly adsorbed onto the membrane surface, indicating a different mode of action. Membrane incorporation of caprylate and caprate was also influenced by bile composition, with more incorporation into fasted- than fed-state fluids. The simulations of transient PE interaction with membranes were further evaluated using two experimental techniques: the quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation technique and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. The experimental results were in good agreement with the computational simulations. Finally, the kinetics of membrane insertion was studied with CG-MD. Variation in micelle composition affected the insertion rates of caprate monomer insertion and expulsion from the micelle surface. In conclusion, this study suggests that the bile composition and the luminal composition of the intestinal fluid are important factors contributing to the interindividual variability in the absorption of macromolecular drugs administered with transient PEs.


coarse-grained molecular dynamics

medium-chain fatty acids

membrane incorporation

molecular simulation

transient permeability enhancers


Shakhawath Hossain

Uppsala University

Paul Joyce

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Albin Parrow

Uppsala University

Silver Jõemetsa

Chalmers, Physics, Biological Physics

Fredrik Höök

Chalmers, Physics, Nano and Biophysics

Per Larsson

Uppsala University

Christel A.S. Bergström

Uppsala University

Molecular Pharmaceutics

1543-8384 (ISSN) 1543-8392 (eISSN)

Vol. 17 11 4226-4240

Subject Categories

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Physical Chemistry






More information

Latest update