Although recent evidence suggests that certain β-lactam antibiotics are absorbed via a specific transport mechanism, its nature is unclear. To confirm whether peptide transport in the rat can be largely ascribed to the intestinal oligopeptide transporter PepT1, the transporter has been functionally characterized and its significance in the intestinal absorption of β-lactam antibiotics was evaluated.
For evaluation of transport activity complementary RNA (cRNA) of rat PepT1 was synthesized in-vitro and expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. cRNA induced uptake of several β-lactam antibiotics and the dipeptide [14C]glycylsarcosine; this was specifically inhibited by various dipeptides and tripeptides but not by their constituent amino acids or by terra- or pentapeptides. The transport activity of PepT1 for β-lactam antibiotics correlated well with their in-vivo intestinal transport and absorption. Furthermore, mutual inhibitory effects on uptake were observed between glycylsarcosine and β-lactam antibiotics. Hybrid depletion of the functional expression of rat PepT1 in oocytes injected with rat intestinal epithelial total mRNA was studied using an antisense oligonucleotide corresponding to the 5′-coding region of PepT1. In oocytes injected with rat mRNA pre-hybridized with the antisense oligonucleotide against rat PepT1, the uptake of [14C]glycylsarcosine was almost completely abolished, whereas its uptake was not influenced by a sense oligonucleotide for the same region of PepT1. Similarly, the uptake of β-lactam antibiotics was also reduced by the antisense oligonucleotide against rat PepT1.
These results demonstrate that the intestinal proton-coupled oligopeptide transporter PepT1 plays a predominant role in the carrier-mediated intestinal absorption of β-lactam antibiotics and native oligopeptides in the rat.