Structure of the GI Tract

The gastrointestinal tract can be divided into five regions in terms of drug targeting: the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, intestine, and colon, each of these regions may be further subdivided for specific targeted drug delivery. Each of these regions is discussed specifically in terms of drug delivery within this chapter. Along the GI tract there are many differences in terms of epithelial topography, luminal contents, pH, enzymatic profile and obviously time from ingestion, each of these factors can be used as a trigger for drug delivery. Along the GI tract there are many differences in terms of epithelial topography, luminal contents, pH, enzymatic profile and obviously time from ingestion; each of these factors can be used as a trigger for drug delivery. Figure 1 illustrates the regions of the GI tract alongside drug delivery formulations that can be used to target these regions, providing an overview of drug delivery along the GI tract.

Figure 1 The GI tract can be divided in terms of regions (righthand side) and in terms of methods used for drug delivery within those regions (lefthand side).

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