Use of alveolar cell monolayers of varying electrical resistance to measure pulmonary peptide transport

Alexander N.O. Dodoo, Sukhrinder S. Bansal, David J. Barlow, Fiona Bennett, Robert C. Hider, Alison Lansley, Jayne M. Lawrence, Christopher Marriott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The apparent permeability coefficient (P(app)) of two fluorescently tagged model hydrophilic peptides, acXASNH(2) and acXAS(GAS)(7)NH(2), and (14)C-mannitol across monolayers of cultured rat alveolar epithelial cells of varying transepithelial electrical resistance (TER) has been examined. In line with their design features, the peptides were not degraded under the conditions of the test. Furthermore, no concentration dependence of transport of the tripeptide acXASNH(2) was observed over the concentration range studied, nor was any directional transport seen for either of the model peptides, indicating that under the conditions of the test they were not substrates for any transporters or efflux pumps. From the hydrophilic nature of the peptides (as assessed by their log P), and their inverse dependence of transport with molecular weight and TER, it was assumed that the peptides were transported across the cell monolayer passively via the paracellular route. The observed P(app) for the transport of (14)C-mannitol and the peptides across rat alveolar epithelial cell monolayers were found to be inversely (though not linearly) related to the measured TER and could be well-modeled assuming the presence of two populations of "pores" in the cell monolayer, namely, cylindrical pores of diameter 1.5 nm and large pores of diameter 20 nm. The relative populations of the two types of pores varied with the TER of the monolayer, with the number of large pores decreasing with an increase in TER (and the number of small pores taken as fixed). These results suggest that if the cell monolayer is well characterized with respect to the passage of a range of probe molecules across monolayers of varying electrical resistance, it should be possible to predict the P(app) of any hydrophilic peptide or drug crossing the membrane by the paracellular route at any desired TER using a monolayer of any electrical resistance, above a minimum value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2000


  • peptides
  • paracellular permeability
  • rat alveolar cells
  • epithelial cell monolayers
  • transepithelial electrical resistance


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