Cell-Penetrating Peptides as Carriers for Oral Delivery of Biopharmaceuticals

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Oral delivery of biopharmaceuticals, for example peptides and proteins, constitutes a great challenge in drug delivery due to their low chemical stability and poor permeation across the intestinal mucosa, to a large extent limiting the mode of administration to injections, which is not favouring patient compliance. Nevertheless, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have shown promising potential as carriers to overcome the epithelium, and this minireview highlights recent knowledge gained within the field of CPP-mediated transepithelial delivery of therapeutic peptides and proteins from the intestine. Two approaches may be pursued: co-administration of the carrier and therapeutic peptide in the form of complexes obtained by simple bulk mixing, or administration of covalent conjugates demanding more advanced production methodologies. These formulation approaches have their pros and cons, and which is to be preferred depends on the physicochemical properties of both the specific CPP and the specific cargo. In addition to the physical epithelial barrier, a metabolic barrier must be overcome in order to obtain CPP-mediated delivery of a cargo drug from the intestine, and a number of strategies have been employed to delay enzymatic degradation of the CPP. The mechanisms by which CPPs translocate across membranes are not fully understood, but possibly involve endocytosis as well as direct translocation, and the CPP-mediated transepithelial delivery of cargo drugs thus likely involves similar mechanisms for the initial membrane interaction and translocation. However, the mechanisms responsible for transcytosis of the cargo drug, if taken up by an endocytic mechanism, or direct translocation across the epithelium are so far not known.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBasic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology Online
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

    Research areas

  • Cell-Penetrating Peptides, Dosage Forms, Drug Administration Routes, Drug Delivery Systems, Humans, Journal Article, Review

ID: 169414500