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Rational Use of Plasma Protein and Tissue Binding Data in Drug Design


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Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California 94080, United States
*Phone: 650-467-4934. E-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: J. Med. Chem. 2014, 57, 20, 8238–8248
Publication Date (Web):July 30, 2014
Copyright © 2014 American Chemical Society

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    It is a commonly accepted assumption that only unbound drug molecules are available to interact with their targets. Therefore, one of the objectives in drug design is to optimize the compound structure to increase in vivo unbound drug concentration. In this review, theoretical analyses and experimental observations are presented to illustrate that low plasma protein binding does not necessarily lead to high in vivo unbound plasma concentration. Similarly, low brain tissue binding does not lead to high in vivo unbound brain tissue concentration. Instead, low intrinsic clearance leads to high in vivo unbound plasma concentration, and low efflux transport activity at the blood–brain barrier leads to high unbound brain concentration. Plasma protein and brain tissue binding are very important parameters in understanding pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and toxicities of drugs, but these parameters should not be targeted for optimization in drug design.

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