Montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles for modulating intestinal P-glycoprotein-mediated transport

Rasmus Blaaholm Nielsen, Ariane Kahnt, Lieve Dillen, Koen Wuyts, Jan Snoeys, Ulla Gro Nielsen, René Holm, Carsten Uhd Nielsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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In the small intestine, P-glycoprotein (P-gp) may limit the permeability of its substrates, which lead to reduced oral absorption. To circumvent the effect of P-gp, a nanocomposite material termed montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles was developed. The particles consisted of montmorillonite, the P-gp-inhibiting, nonionic surfactant, polysorbate 20, and the P-gp substrate, digoxin. The present study aimed to investigate if montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles could modulate the absorption of digoxin in vivo. Montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles were prepared by lyophilising an aqueous suspension of the constituents. Scanning electron microscopy, thermogravimetric analysis, and powder X-ray diffraction revealed an altered surface morphology, decreased water content, and intercalation of polysorbate 20 between montmorillonite layers. The particles were administered orally to Sprague Dawley rats, and digoxin was quantified by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Control digoxin-containing montmorillonite decreased the exposure of digoxin. In contrast, montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles increased AUC and C max by 31 and 91%, respectively, compared to digoxin in solution. It was hypothesised that montmorillonite-surfactant hybrid particles increased digoxin exposure by forming mucosa-localised elevated concentrations of polysorbate 20 and digoxin, which enhanced the inhibitory effect of polysorbate 20 on P-gp.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118696
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 25. Nov 2019


  • Digoxin
  • Intestinal absorption
  • Montmorillonite
  • Nanocomposites
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Polysorbate 20

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