Mechanism and Kinetics of Transcellular Transport of a New β-Lactam Antibiotic Loracarbef Across an Intestinal Epithelial Membrane Model System (Caco-2)

Ming Hu, Jiyue Chen, Yanping Zhu, Anne H. Dantzig, Robert E. Stratford,, Mike T. Kuhfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations


Various processes involved in the transcellular transport (TT) of loracarbef (LOR) were studied in the Caco-2 cell monolayer, a cell culture model of the small intestinal epithelium. The results provide support for presence of two AP to BL peptide TT pathways in the intestinal epithelial cell monolayer (Caco-2). The H+ gradient-dependent pathway (Km = 0.789 mM, and Jmax = 163 pmol/min per cm2) is relatively “high affinity” and “low capacity” compared to H+ gradient-independent pathway (Km = 8.28 mM, and Jmax = 316 pmol/min per cm2). In addition, TT of LOR in the presence of a H+ gradient was inhibited 77% to 88% (p < 0.05) by 10 mM of cephalexin, enalapril, Gly-Pro and Phe-Pro, while TT of LOR in the absence of a H+ gradient was only inhibited 42% to 48% (p < 0.05) by 10 mM of Gly-Pro and Phe-Pro. Since AP uptake is H+ gradient-dependent and saturable while the BL efflux is mostly nonsaturable and not driven by a H+ gradient, these two transmembrane transport processes must be different, which could be the result of two different peptide carriers. In vivo, these two transport processes must have worked in concert to produce transcellular flux of loracarbef. To explain the differences between kinetic characteristics of AP uptake and TT transport, a cellular pharmacokinetic (PK) model was developed and the results indicate that the PK model appropriately described the kinetics of LOR TT. The use of this PK model may provide an additional advantage to the use of the cell culture model because kinetic parameters at both sides of the intestinal epithelial membrane may be obtained using the same preparation. Taken together, the Caco-2 model system represents an excellent model system for the study of carrier-mediated processes involved in the TT of peptides and peptide-like drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1405-1413
Number of pages9
JournalPharmaceutical Research: An Official Journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Caco-2
  • H gradient
  • apical uptake
  • basolateral efflux
  • carbacephem
  • cellular pharmacokinetics
  • loracarbef
  • oral β-lactam
  • peptide carrier
  • transcellular transport
  • transport model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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