Journal of pharmaceutical sciences vol:92 issue:8 pages:1545-58
During the evaluation and selection of drug candidates, the Caco-2 cell culture system is commonly used for the determination of intestinal transport characteristics and to anticipate permeability limited drug absorption. Although classic HBSS-like buffered salt solutions are commonly used to perform Caco-2 transport experiments, different shortcomings (e.g., adsorption and low solubility) have been associated with the use of plain aqueous buffers. As transport experiments performed with unoptimized conditions may compromize the value of the Caco-2 model as a permeation screening tool, many efforts have been made to optimize the experimental conditions of Caco-2 transport assays. In this minireview, the hurdles associated with the use of saline aqueous buffers in Caco-2 transport experiments are summarized and the different options, which have been proposed to overcome these issues, are reviewed and discussed. Biologically, pharmaceutically, as well as analytically relevant media affecting the outcome of the transport experiments are described. Unfortunately, up to now, no systematic studies comparing the different experimental conditions have been performed, jeopardizing the possibility to define a (single) optimal solution to overcome the different issues associated with the use of saline aqueous buffers. Based on the reported options it can be proposed to use DMSO (<or=1%) in standard screening procedures for the ranking of compounds based on their apical to basolateral transport. If compounds are not soluble in DMSO 1%, dimethylacetamide (3%) or N-1-methyl-pyrrolidone (2.5%) are good alternatives. However, these options do not imitate the in vivo situation. If one wants to take into account the physiological relevance of the media, the use of a biologically relevant apical medium (e.g., FASSIF) in combination with an analytically friendly, sink condition creating basolateral solvent (e.g., containing a micelle forming agent) can be suggested.