Transfer of orlistat through oil-water interfaces

Ali Tiss, Hans Lengsfeld, Paul Hadváry, Alain Cagna, Robert Verger

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The transfer of radiolabelled orlistat ([14C]orlistat), a potent gastrointestinal lipase inhibitor, through an oil-water interface from a single oil droplet to an aqueous phase was investigated, using an oil drop tensiometer. The absolute transfer fluxes were found to be very low, even in the presence of micellar concentrations of bile salts, which increased their values from 0.2 to 2.5 and 6.5 pmol cm-2 min-1 in the presence of 0, 4 and 15 mM NaTDC, respectively. Adding either a lipid emulsion or pure human pancreatic lipase (HPL) or human serum albumin or β-lactoglobulin had no effect on the flux of transfer of orlistat. The presence of colipase or a mixture of colipase and HPL was found, however, to reduce the flux of orlistat transfer, probably because it partly covered the single oil drop surface, even in the presence of bile salts. Using a finely emulsified system, we investigated the partitioning of orlistat between the aqueous and oil phases, in the absence or presence of bile salts above their CMC (4 mM NaTDC, final concentration). Under these emulsified conditions, orlistat was found to be mostly associated with the oil phase, since more than 98.8% of the total radioactivity was recovered after decantation with the oil phase. The low transfer rates of orlistat, as well as its partitioning coefficient between the oil and the aqueous phases, should help us to better understand the inhibitory effects of orlistat on lipid digestion in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry and Physics of Lipids
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2002


  • Bile salt
  • Interface
  • Oil drop
  • Orlistat


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