• absorption;
  • bioavailability;
  • pulmonary;
  • pulmonary delivery;
  • pulmonary absorption


Bisphosphonates are widely used for the treatment of bone diseases, including hypercalcemia and osteoporosis. However, the bioavailability (BA) of orally administered bisphosphonates is low, at approximately 0.9%–1.8%. In addition, the oral administration of bisphosphonates is associated with mucosal damage, including gastritis, gastric ulcer, and erosive esophagitis. Here, to develop a new delivery system for bisphosphonates that improve their BA and safety, we developed polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated alendronate, a novel nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate derivative. We evaluated the absorption and safety of PEG–alendronate in rats following intrapulmonary administration. The BA of PEG–alendronate after intrapulmonary administration was approximately 44 ± 10% in rats, which was similar to that of alendronate (54 ± 3.9%). Alendronate significantly increased total protein concentration and lactate dehydrogenase activity in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, suggesting that pulmonary epithelium was locally damaged by intrapulmonary administration of alendronate. In marked contrast, PEG–alendronate did not significantly increase the markers following intrapulmonary administration. In an osteoporosis model in rats, intrapulmonary administration of PEG–alendronate effectively inhibited decreases in the width of the growth plate to a level similar to that achieved by intrapulmonary administration of alendronate. These results indicate that pulmonary delivery of PEG–alendronate is a promising approach for the treatment of bone diseases. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association J Pharm Sci 100:3783–3792, 2011