Blood-Brain Barrier Transport Investigation of Active Efflux using Positron Emission Tomography and Modelling Studies

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: This thesis examines the transport of exogenous molecules across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), focusing on active efflux, using positron emission tomography (PET), computer simulation and modelling. P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibition was studied using [11C]verapamil and [11C]hydroxyurea was investigated as a new marker for active efflux transport. Simulations were carried out to explore the importance of the efflux transporter location in the BBB. Brain concentrations of [11C]verapamil, [11C]GR205171 and [18F]altanserin were compared in various laboratory animal species and in humans.A central aspect of the studies has been the novel combination of dynamic PET imaging of the brain pharmacokinetics of a labelled drug, administered through an exponential infusion scheme allowing time-resolved consequence analysis of P-gp inhibition, and mathematical modelling of the obtained data. The methods are applicable to drugs under development and can be used not only in rodents but also in higher species, potentially even in humans, to investigate the effects of P-gp or other transporters on drug uptake in the brain.The inhibition of P-gp by cyclosporin A (CsA) and the subsequent change in brain concentrations of [11C]verapamil occurred rapidly in the sense that [11C]verapamil uptake increased rapidly after CsA administration but also in the sense that the increased uptake was rapidly reversible. The P-gp inhibition was best described by an inhibitory indirect effect model in which CsA decreased the transport of [11C]verapamil out of the brain. The model indicated that approximately 90% of the transport of [11C]verapamil was P-gp-mediated. The low brain concentrations of [11C]hydroxyurea appeared to be a result of slow transport across the BBB rather than active efflux. This exemplifies why the extent and the rate of brain uptake should be approached as two separate phenomena. The brain-to-plasma concentration ratios for the three studied radiotracers differed about 10-fold be-tween species, with lower concentrations in rodents than in humans, monkeys and pigs. The increase in brain concentrations after P-gp inhibition was somewhat greater in rats than in the other species.The findings demonstrate a need to include the dynamics of efflux inhibition in the experimental design and stress the importance of the choice of species in preclinical studies of new drug candidates.