1998 Volume 21 Issue 6 Pages 604-609
We evaluated the dose-dependent (saturable) gastrointestinal absorption of cefatrizine, an aminocephalosporin transported by peptide carriers, in rats by a physiological mechanism-based approach to clarify its absorption characteristics and to examine the in vitro (in situ)-in vivo correlation in intestinal transport. With an increase in oral dose (μmol/5 ml/kg) from 5 (low) to 50 (high), the intestinal absorption rate constant (ka), which was estimated by analysis of gastrointestinal disposition, decreased markedly, from 0.301 to 0.056min-1. This decrease was ascribable to the saturability of intestinal membrane transport, of which the concentration dependency in the perfused intestine was similar in extent to the dose dependency in ka. However, the apparent absorption rate constant (ka'), which was estimated by analysis of plasma concentrations after oral administration, decreased only modestly from 0.037 to 0.023 min-1. This was associated with the result that, at the low dose, ka' was far smaller than ka and comparable with kg (gastric emptying rate constant), suggesting gastric emptying-limited absorption. At the high dose, where intestinal cefatrizine absorption was less efficient, ka' was closer to ka than kg. It was also observed that the bioavailability was close to unity, independent of dose, suggesting that the intestinal transit time is long enough to achieve complete absorption, even at the high dose, where intestinal cefatrizine absorption is less efficient. Thus, it was found that the effect of saturability in the intestinal transport of cefatrizine is apparently attenuated in its overall gastrointestinal absorption because of the involvement of gastric emptying and intestinal transit time as additional physiological factors to define absorption. It was also found that a scaling factor is required to correlate the intestinal membrane transport between in vitro (in situ) and in vivo, though this remains to be verified to be utilized for developing oral drug delivery strategies and optimizing oral drug therapy.