The enterocyte monolayer in the intestinal membrane impacts on the bioavailability (BA) of many orally administered active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The monolayer expresses a multitude of membrane transporters belonging to the solute carrier (SLC) and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) families that may impact drug absorption. Thus absorptive transporters may facilitate BA of APIs that are substrates/victims for the transporters and have permeability-limited absorption, i.e. those that are classified in the biopharmaceutics classification system (BCS) Class 3 and 4. On the other hand, exsorptive transporters may restrict BA of APIs that are victims for these efflux transporters, especially those APIs classified to have solubility-limited absorption, i.e. compounds in BCS Class 2 and 4. The aim of the present Chapter is to review drug transporters (DTs) present within the intestine and to discuss and exemplify their roles in drug absorption/exsorption and in drug-drug interactions (DDIs). Although focus in the present Chapter is on DTs that are mentioned in American and European regulatory guidances, the intestinal transporters for nutrients and endogens (endogenous compounds) are also briefly considered, since some nutrient transporters (NTs) are also DTs. An example of a NT, which is also a DT is the peptide transporter 1 (PEPT1)/ SLC15A1. Thus absorption of di/tri-peptides rely on this transporter as do several APIs such as cefadroxile. Many APIs are substrates and/or inhibitors to the intestinal exsorptive DTs. An example is the API sulfasalazine, which is a substrate for breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)/ABCG2. Sulfasalazine absorption is found to increase when human volunteers are administered high concentrations together with the inhibitor and spice curcumin. In conclusion, to date 51 intestinal transporters have been identified of which 14 are known to play a role in drug BA.
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