d-α-Tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS, also known as vitamin E-TPGS) is a biodegradable amphiphilic polymer prepared by esterification of vitamin E with polyethylene glycol (PEG) 1000. It is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has found wide application in nanocarrier drug delivery systems (NDDS). Fully characterizing the in vivo fate and pharmacokinetic behavior of TPGS is important to promote the further development of TPGS-based NDDS. However, to date, a bioassay for the simultaneous quantitation of TPGS and its metabolite, PEG1000, has not been reported. In the present study, we developed such an innovative bioassay and used it to investigate the pharmacokinetics, tissue distribution and excretion of TPGS and PEG1000 in rat after oral and intravenous dosing. In addition, we evaluated the interaction of TPGS with cytochromes P450 (CYP450s) in human liver microsomes. The results show that TPGS is poorly absorbed after oral administration with very low bioavailability and that, after intravenous administration, TPGS and PEG1000 are mainly distributed to the spleen, liver, lung and kidney before both being slowly eliminated in urine and feces as PEG1000. In vitro studies show the inhibition of human CYP450 enzymes by TPGS is limited to a weak inhibition of CYP3A4. Overall, our results provide a clear picture of the in vivo fate of TPGS which will be useful in evaluating the safety of TPGS-based NDDS in clinical use and in promoting their further development.
Cytochrome P450; Excretion; LC‒MS/MS; Metabolism; Nanocarrier materials; Pharmacokinetics; TPGS; Tissue distribution.
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Conflict of interest statement
The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.