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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Comparative biomembrane permeation of tacrine using Yucatan minipigs and domestic pigs as the animal model.

Tacrine (THA), a centrally acting acetylcholine-esterase inhibitor, is presently administered perorally for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, its low bioavailablity (i.e., 17%) and short half-life (2-4 h) demand the search for alternative routes of administration. The primary objective of this study was to assess the potential of absorptive mucosae and skin as routes for improving the systemic delivery of THA. The Yucatan minipig, which has been used increasingly in biomedical research as a useful model for humans, and the domestic pig, which is available at low cost, were evaluated for their suitability as animal model. Permeation kinetics of THA across various absorptive mucosae (nasal, buccal, sublingual, and rectal) of both species of swine were studied in the hydrodynamically well-calibrated Valia-Chien permeation cells. For comparison, permeation through various intestinal segments (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum) was also measured. Results indicated that both species display similar permeation characteristics. However, the data obtained for the domestic pigs shows lower intra- and inter-animal variabilities than that of the Yucatan minipigs. The nasal mucosa was found to have the highest permeability, while the buccal mucosa had the lowest among the absorptive mucosae. The intrinsic permeabilities and diffusivity of THA across the four absorptive mucosae were not significantly different between species but lower than that for the intestinal segments for both species. Using dorsal skin as the model, the skin permeation of THA was also investigated and the results indicated that the domestic swine has a significantly higher skin permeability than the Yucatan minipig, with more than a 2-fold difference in intrinsic permeabilities. The intrinsic permeability, partition coefficient, and diffusivity for domestic pig skin are very similar to that for human cadaver skin. Considering the potential of bypassing the hepatic "first-pass" elimination, the absorptive mucosae may be useful routes for systemic delivery of THA to achieve improved bioavailability. With additional advantages of lower variability, ease of membrane excision, good accessibility, and lower cost, it is concluded that the domestic swine is a better animal model than the Yucatan minipig for preclinical studies on the systemic delivery of tacrine.[1]


  1. Comparative biomembrane permeation of tacrine using Yucatan minipigs and domestic pigs as the animal model. Gore, A.V., Liang, A.C., Chien, Y.W. Journal of pharmaceutical sciences. (1998) [Pubmed]
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