In situperfusion in rodents to explore intestinal drug absorption: Challenges and opportunities

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The in situ intestinal perfusion technique in rodents is a very important absorption model, not only because of its predictive value, but it is also very suitable to unravel the mechanisms underlying intestinal drug absorption. This literature overview covers a number of specific applications for which the in situ intestinal perfusion set-up can be applied in favor of established in vitro absorption tools, such as the Caco-2 cell model. Qualities including the expression of drug transporters and metabolizing enzymes relevant for human intestinal absorption and compatibility with complex solvent systems render the in situ technique the most designated absorption model to perform transporter-metabolism studies or to evaluate the intestinal absorption from biorelevant media.

Over the years, the in situ intestinal perfusion model has exhibited an exceptional ability to adapt to the latest challenges in drug absorption profiling. For instance, the introduction of the mesenteric vein cannulation allows determining the appearance of compounds in the blood and is of great use, especially when evaluating the absorption of compounds undergoing intestinal metabolism. Moreover, the use of the closed loop intestinal perfusion set-up is interesting when compounds or perfusion media are scarce. Compatibility with emerging trends in pharmaceutical profiling, such as the use of knockout or transgenic animals, generates unparalleled possibilities to gain mechanistic insight into specific absorption processes.

Notwithstanding the fact that the in situ experiments are technically challenging and relatively time-consuming, the model offers great opportunities to gain insight into the processes determining intestinal drug absorption.

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