The AAPS Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1064–1076 | Cite as

Efficacious Intestinal Permeation Enhancement Induced by the Sodium Salt of 10-undecylenic Acid, A Medium Chain Fatty Acid Derivative

  • David J. BraydenEmail author
  • Edwin Walsh
Research Article


10-undecylenic acid (UA) is an OTC antifungal therapy and a nutritional supplement. It is an unsaturated medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) derivative, so our hypothesis was that its 11-mer sodium salt, uC11, would improve intestinal permeation similar to the established enhancer, sodium caprate (C10), but without the toxicity of the parent saturated MCFA, decylenic acid (C11). MTT assay and high-content screening (HCS) confirmed a cytotoxicity ranking in Caco-2 cells: C11 > C10 = uC11. Five to ten millimolars of the three agents reduced TEER and increased the Papp of [14C]-mannitol across Caco-2 monolayers and rat intestinal mucosae, a concentration that matched increases in plasma membrane permeability seen in HCS. Although C11 was the most efficacious enhancer in vitro, it damaged monolayers and tissue mucosae more than the other two agents at similar concentrations and exposure times and was therefore not pursued further. Rat jejunal and colonic in situ intestinal instillations of 100 mM C10 or uC11 with FITC-dextran 4000 (FD4) solutions yielded comparable regional enhancement ratios of ~10 and 30%, respectively, for each agent with acceptable tissue histology. Mini-tablets of uC11 and FD4 however delivered more FD4 compared to C10-FD-4 mini-tablets in both regions, as reflected by a statistically higher AUC, and with no evidence of membrane perturbation. The unsaturated bond in uC11 therefore confers a reduction in lipophilicity and cytotoxicity compared to C11, and the resulting permeation enhancement is on a par with or superior to that of C10, a key component of formulations in current phase II oral peptide clinical trials.


10-undecylenic acid Caco-2 cells intestinal permeation enhancement medium chain fatty acids oral peptides 



This work was co-funded by Science Foundation Ireland Strategic Research Cluster grant 07/SRC/B1154 and an industry partnership award to EW from the Irish Research Council with sponsorship from Merrion Pharmaceuticals, Ireland. We thank Margaret Coady for assistance with histopathology.

Supplementary material

12248_2014_9634_MOESM1_ESM.doc (29 kb)
Suppl. Table 1 (DOC 29 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Sciences Centre and Conway InstituteUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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