A glucocorticoid prodrug facilitates normal mucosal function in rat colitis without adrenal suppression

Author(s): McLeod AD, Fedorak RN, Friend DR, Tozer TN, Cui N


Background/aims: Glucocorticoids remain the foundation of therapy for acute ulcerative colitis despite systemic side effects that limit their use. Prodrugs that selectively deliver glucocorticoids to the colon may lower the required dose and side effects. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a newly synthesized glucocorticoid-dextran prodrug.

Methods: Novel glucocorticoid-dextran prodrug conjugates in which dexamethasone and methylprednisolone were attached to dextran were synthesized using the dicarboxylic acid linkers, succinate and glutarate. The efficacy of the dextran prodrug conjugates and their free glucocorticoids was tested in an acetic acid-induced model of colitis. Repair of the colitis and mucosal function was assessed by measuring net intestinal fluid absorption, macroscopic ulceration, and myeloperoxidase activity. Glucocorticoid toxicity was evaluated by measuring plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone and serum corticosterone levels.

Results: The prodrug dexamethasone-succinate-dextran was nine times more potent and dexamethasone-glutarate-dextran three times more potent than free dexamethasone in accelerating mucosal repair. Similarly, methylprednisolone-succinate-dextran was four times more potent than free methylprednisolone. The dextran prodrug conjugates affected adrenocorticotropic hormone and corticosterone levels only at the highest doses in contrast to free dexamethasone and methylprednisolone, which caused marked adrenal suppression at all doses.

Conclusions: The results show that recently synthesized glucocorticoid-dextran prodrug conjugates can be administered orally to facilitate mucosal repair in rat colitis without adrenosuppression.

Similar Articles

A novel colon-specific steroid prodrug enhances sodium chloride absorption in rat colitis

Author(s): Fedorak RN, Cui N, Friend DR, Madsen KL, Empey LR

Novel prodrugs of meropenem with two lipophilic promoieties: Synthesis and pharmacokinetics

Author(s): Tanaka S, Matsui H, Kasai M, Kunishiro K, Kakeya N, et al.

Validation of a simple and rapid UV spectrophotometric method for dexamethasone assay in tablets

Author(s): Friedrich RB, Ravanello A, Cichota LC, Rolim CMB, Beck RCR