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By Sally Challenor

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For example, L-DOPA, the precursor to dopamine, can cross the BBB, whereas dopamine itself cannot. , Parkinson’s disease) rather than dopamine). In addition to tight junctions acting to prevent transport in between epithelial cells, there are two mechanisms to prevent passive diffusion through the cell membranes. Glial cells surrounding capillaries in the brain pose a secondary hindrance to hydrophilic molecules, and the low concentration of interstitial proteins in the brain prevent access by hydrophilic molecules.

The process of oxidation takes place in the presence of mixed function oxidases and monooxygenases in the liver. These oxidative reactions typically involve a cytochrome P450 haemoprotein, NADPH and oxygen. The classes of pharmaceutical drugs that utilise this method for their metabolism include phenothiazines, paracetamol, and steroids. If the metabolites of phase I reactions are sufficiently polar, they may be readily excreted at this point. However, many phase I products are not eliminated rapidly and undergo a subsequent reaction in which an endogenous 34 Biophysics substrate combines with the newly incorporated functional group to form a highly polar conjugate.

While both occur, the major metabolites of most drugs are detoxication products. Drugs are almost all xenobiotics. Other commonly used organic chemicals are also drugs, and are metabolised by the same enzymes as drugs. This provides the opportunity for drug-drug and drugchemical interactions or reactions. Phase I vs. Phase II Phase I and Phase II reactions are biotransformations of chemicals that occur during drug metabolism. Phase I reactions—usually precedes Phase II, though not necessarily. During these reactions, polar bodies are either introduced or unmasked, which results in (more) polar metabolites of the original chemicals.

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