Pharmacokinetics and tissue distribution of (±)-3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxy-5'-O-(2-bromomyristoyl)thymidine, a prodrug of 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (AZT) in mice

Keykavous Parang, Leonard I. Wiebe, Edward E. Knaus

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15 Scopus citations


The in-vivo biodistribution and pharmacokinetics in mice of 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine (1, AZT), 2-bromomyristic acid (2) and their common prodrug, (±)-3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxy-5'-O-(2-bromomyristoyl)thymidine (3) are reported. The objectives of the work were to enhance the anti-human immunodeficiency virus and anti-fungal effects of 1 and 2 by improving their delivery to the brain and liver. The pharmacokinetics of AZT (βt 1/4 (elimination, or beta-phase, half-life) = 112.5 min; AUC (area under the plot of concentration against time) = 29.1 ± 2.9 μmol g-1 min; CL (blood clearance) = 10.5 ± 1.1 mL min-1 kg-1) and its ester prodrug (3, βt 1/4 = 428.5 min; AUC = 17.3 ± 4.7 μmol g-1 min; CL = 17.6 ± 4.8 mL min-1 kg-1) were compared after intravenous injection of equimolar doses (0.3 mmol kg-1) via the tail vein of Balb/c mice (25-30 g). The prodrug was rapidly converted to AZT in-vivo, but plasma levels of AZT (peak concentration 0.17 μmol g-1) and AUC (12.3 μmol min g-1) were lower than observed after AZT administration (peak concentration 0.36 μmol g-1 AUC 29.1 μmol min g-1). The prodrug also accumulated rapidly in the liver immediately after injection, resulting in higher concentrations of AZT than observed after administration of AZT itself (respective peak concentrations 1.11 and 0.81 μmol g-1; respective AUCs 42.5 and 12.7 μmol min g-1). Compared with doses of AZT itself, 3 also led to significantly higher brain concentration of AZT (25.7 compared with 9.8 μmol g-1) and AUCs (2.8 compared with 1.4 μmol min g-1). At the doses used in this study the antifungal agent 2-bromomyristic acid was measurable in plasma and brain within only 2 min of injection. Hepatic concentrations of 2-bromomyristic acid were higher for at least 2 h after dosing with 3 than after dosing with the acid itself. In summary, comparative biodistribution studies of AZT and its prodrug showed that the prodrug led to higher concentrations of AZT in the brain and liver. Although the prodrug did not result in measurably different concentrations of 2-bromomyristic acid in the blood and brain, it did lead to levels in the liver which were higher than those achieved by dosing with the acid itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-996
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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