AAPS PharmSciTech

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 497–508 | Cite as

In vitro Permeability Enhancement in Intestinal Epithelial Cells (Caco-2) Monolayer of Water Soluble Quaternary Ammonium Chitosan Derivatives

  • Jariya Kowapradit
  • Praneet Opanasopit
  • Tanasait Ngawhirunpat
  • Auayporn Apirakaramwong
  • Theerasak Rojanarata
  • Uracha Ruktanonchai
  • Warayuth Sajomsang
Research Article


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a type of hydrophobic moiety, extent of N-substitution (ES), and degree of quaternization (DQ) of chitosan (CS) on the transepithelial electrical resistance and permeability of Caco-2 cells monolayer, using fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran 4,400 (FD-4) as the model compound for paracellular tight junction transport. CS was substituted with hydrophobic moiety, an aliphatic aldehyde (n-octyl) or aromatic aldehyde (benzyl), for the improved hydrophobic interaction with cell membrane, and they were quaternized with Quat-188 to render CS soluble. The factors affecting the epithelial permeability have been evaluated in the intestinal cell monolayers, Caco-2 cells. Cytotoxicity was evaluated by using the trypan blue and MTT viability assay. The results revealed that at pH 7.4 CSQ appeared to increase cell permeability in dose-dependent manner, and this effect was relatively reversible at the lower doses of 0.05–1.25 mM. The higher DQ and ES caused the higher permeability of FD-4. Cytotoxicity of CSQ was concentration, %DQ, and %ES dependent. Substitution with hydrophobic moiety caused decreasing in permeability of FD-4 and cytotoxicity by benzyl group had more effect than octyl group. These studies demonstrated that these novel modified chitosan derivatives had potential for using as absorption enhancers.

Key words

absorption enhancer Caco-2 cells permeability quaternary ammonium chitosan derivatives 



N-Benzyl chitosan Quat-188




Chitosan acetate


Chitosan Quat-188


Degree of Quat-188


The extent of N-substitution


Fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran 4,400


3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide


N-Octyl chitosan Quat-188


The transepithelial electrical resistance


Methylated N-(4-N,N-dimethylaminobenzyl) chitosan



The authors wish to thank Commission of Higher Education (Thailand), The Thailand Research Funds through the Golden Jubilee Ph.D. Program (Grant No. PHD/0114/2550), The National Research Council of Thailand, and Silpakorn University Research and Development Institute for financial support.


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Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jariya Kowapradit
    • 1
  • Praneet Opanasopit
    • 1
  • Tanasait Ngawhirunpat
    • 1
  • Auayporn Apirakaramwong
    • 1
  • Theerasak Rojanarata
    • 1
  • Uracha Ruktanonchai
    • 2
  • Warayuth Sajomsang
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of PharmacySilpakorn UniversityNakhon PathomThailand
  2. 2.National Nanotechnology CenterThailand Science ParkPathumthaniThailand

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