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      Drug transport in corneal epithelium and blood-retina barrier: emerging role of transporters in ocular pharmacokinetics.

      Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews

      Animals, Blood-Retinal Barrier, physiology, Drug Delivery Systems, Epithelium, Corneal, metabolism, Humans, Membrane Transport Proteins, Pharmaceutical Preparations, Pharmacokinetics

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          Corneal epithelium and blood-retina barrier (i.e. retinal capillaries and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)) are the key membranes that regulate the access of xenobiotics into the ocular tissues. Corneal epithelium limits drug absorption from the lacrimal fluid into the anterior chamber after eyedrop administration, whereas blood-retina barrier restricts the entry of drugs from systemic circulation to the posterior eye segment. Like in general pharmacokinetics, the role of transporters has been considered to be quite limited as compared to the passive diffusion of drugs across the membranes. As the functional role of transporters is being revealed it has become evident that the transporters are widely important in pharmacokinetics. This review updates the current knowledge about the transporters in the corneal epithelium and blood-retina barrier and demonstrates that the information is far from complete. We also show that quite many ocular drugs are known to interact with transporters, but the studies about the expression and function of those transporters in the eye are still sparse. Therefore, the transporters probably have greater role in ocular pharmacokinetics than we currently realise.

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