Poly(ethylene glycol), or PEG, conjugation to proteins and peptides is a growing technology used to enhance efficacy of therapeutics. This investigation assesses pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics of PEG-conjugated [D-Pen2,D-Pen5]-enkephalin (DPDPE), a met-enkephalin analog, in rodent (in vivo, in situ) and bovine (in vitro) systems. PEG-DPDPE showed increased analgesia (i.v.) compared with nonconjugated form (p < 0.01), despite a 172-fold lower binding affinity for the δ-opioid receptor. PEG-DPDPE had a 36-fold greater hydrophilicity (p < 0.01) and 12% increase in the unbound plasma protein fraction (p < 0.01), compared with DPDPE. PEG-DPDPE had a 2.5-fold increase in elimination half-life (p < 0.01), 2.7-fold decrease in volume of distribution (p < 0.01), and a 7-fold decrease in plasma clearance rate (p < 0.01) to DPDPE. Time course distribution showed significant concentration differences (p < 0.01) in plasma, whole blood, liver, gallbladder, gastrointestinal (GI) content, GI tract, kidneys, spleen, urine, and brain (brain, p < 0.05), between the conjugated and nonconjugated forms. Increased brain uptake of PEG-DPDPE corresponded to analgesia data. PEG-DPDPE in brain was shown to be 58.9% intact, with 41.1% existing as DPDPE (metabolite), whereas [125l]DPDPE was 25.7% intact in the brain (at 30 min). In vitro P-glycoprotein affinity was shown for DPDPE (p < 0.01) but not shown for [125l]PEG-DPDPE. In vitro saturable uptake, with 100 μM DPDPE, was shown for [125l]PEG-DPDPE (p < 0.05). In this study, PEG-conjugated DPDPE seems to act as a prodrug, enhancing peripheral pharmacokinetics, while undergoing hydrolysis in the brain and allowing nonconjugated DPDPE to act at the receptor.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - Aug 2 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine