2R-γ-Tocotrienol (γ-T3) is currently receiving attention because it has beneficial effects not observed with α-tocopherol. To achieve the effective delivery of γ-T3, we synthesized three kinds of ester derivatives of γ-T3 and evaluated their use as hydrophilic prodrugs for γ-T3 in vitro and in vivo. 2R-γ-Tocotrienyl N,N- dimethylaminoacetate hydrochloride (compound 3) was a solid compound, with high solubility and stability in water, and was converted to γ-T3 by esterases in rat and human liver. Intravenous administration of 3 in rats led to a rapid increase in the plasma, liver, heart, and kidney levels of γ-T3. The bioavailability (plasma level) after intravenous administration was 82.5 ± 13.4% and 100 ± 11.3% for 3 and γ-T3 in surfactant, respectively, and the availability in liver was 213 ± 47.6% and 100 ± 4.8% for 3 and γ-T3 in surfactant, respectively. Furthermore, the systemic availability of 2,7,8-trimethyl-2S-(β-carboxyethyl)-6- hydroxychroman (S-γ-CEHC), a metabolite of γ-T3, was 78.6% for compound 3, 47.1% for γ-T3 in surfactant, and 100% for racemic γ-CEHC. Based on these results, we identified compound 3 as the most promising water-soluble prodrug of γ-T3 and two-step prodrug of S-γ-CEHC.
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