Partitioning and Spatial Distribution of Drugs in Ocular Surface Tissues
Ocular drug absorption after eye drop instillation has been widely studied, but partitioning phenomena and spatial drug distribution are poorly understood. We investigated partitioning of seven beta-blocking drugs in corneal epithelium, corneal stroma, including endothelium and conjunctiva, using isolated porcine tissues and cultured human corneal epithelial cells. The chosen beta-blocking drugs had a wide range (−1.76–0.79) of n-octanol/buffer solution distribution coefficients at pH 7.4 (Log
... 7.4). In addition, the ocular surface distribution of three beta-blocking drugs was determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI-IMS) after their simultaneous application in an eye drop to the rabbits in vivo. Studies with isolated porcine corneas revealed that the distribution coefficient (Kp) between the corneal epithelium and donor solution showed a positive relationship and good correlation with Log D7.4 and about a 50-fold range of Kp values (0.1–5). On the contrary, Kp between corneal stroma and epithelium showed an inverse (negative) relationship and correlation with Log D7.4 based on a seven-fold range of Kp values. In vitro corneal cell uptake showed a high correlation with the ex vivo corneal epithelium/donor Kp values. Partitioning of the drugs into the porcine conjunctiva also showed a positive relationship with lipophilicity, but the range of Kp values was less than with the corneal epithelium. MALDI-IMS allowed simultaneous detection of three compounds in the cornea, showed data in line with other experiments, and revealed uneven spatial drug distribution in the cornea. Our data indicate the importance of lipophilicity in defining the corneal pharmacokinetics and the Kp values are a useful building block in the kinetic simulation models for topical ocular drug administration.