Ultrathin, Large-Area Membrane Diffusion Cell for pH-Dependent Simultaneous Dissolution and Absorption Studies.Mol Pharm. 2020 07 06; 17(7):2319-2328.MP
Preclinical evaluation of modern oral dosage forms requires more advanced in vitro devices as the trend of selecting low solubility, high permeability compounds for commercial development continues. Current dissolution methodologies may not always be suitable for such compounds due to excessive fluid volume, high fluid shear rates, heterogeneity of shear rates, suboptimal fluid flow, and, ultimately, the lack of absorption ability (Gray The Science of USP 1 and 2 Dissolution: Present Challenges and Future Relevance; Pharmaceutical Research, 2009; Vol. 26; pp 1289-1302). Herein, a new dissolution apparatus is introduced in combination with an ultrathin, semipermeable polymer membrane that mimics human passive absorption for lipophilic compounds. The ultrathin large-area polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane (UTLAM) absorption system is designed to mimic the dissolution and passive transcellular diffusion process representing the oral absorption pathway. A simple spin-casting method was developed to fabricate the ultrathin highly uniform membranes. To minimize membrane resistance to diffusion and maximize transport across the polymer membrane, 10-40 μm PDMS membranes were successfully prepared. A new diffusion cell was designed and tested to support the UTLAM and incorporates a hydrofoil impeller for more desirable hydrodynamics and mixing, using ibuprofen as a model weak acidic drug. UTLAM permeability was sufficiently high that the aqueous boundary layer contributed to the overall permeability of the system. This diffusion cell system demonstrated that, when the aqueous diffusion layer contributes to the overall resistance to transport, the pH at which absorption is 50% of maximum (pH50%) shifts from the pKa to higher values, demonstrating why weak acid drugs can exhibit high absorption at pH's significantly greater than their pKa. High rates of transport across the UTLAM are possible for drugs with high partition coefficients (i.e., BCS II compounds even under mostly ionized conditions), and PDMS UTLAMs may be tailored to simulate human intestinal passive absorption rates.