[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Positron emission tomography (PET) with [(11)C]verapamil, either in racemic form or in form of the (R)-enantiomer, has been used to measure the functional activity of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). There is some evidence in literature that verapamil inhibits two other ABC transporters expressed at the BBB, i.e. multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP). However, previous data were obtained with micromolar concentrations of verapamil and do not necessarily reflect the transporter selectivity of verapamil at nanomolar concentrations, which are relevant for PET experiments. The aim of this study was to assess the selectivity of verapamil, in nanomolar concentrations, for Pgp over MRP1 and BCRP.
Concentration equilibrium transport assays were performed with [(3)H]verapamil (5nM) in cell lines expressing murine or human Pgp, human MRP1, and murine Bcrp1 or human BCRP. Paired PET scans were performed with (R)-[(11)C]verapamil in female FVB/N (wild-type), Mrp1((-/-)), Mdr1a/b((-/-)), Bcrp1((-/-)) and Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice, before and after Pgp inhibition with 15mg/kg tariquidar.
In vitro transport experiments exclusively showed directed transport of [(3)H]verapamil in Mdr1a- and MDR1-overexpressing cells which could be inhibited by tariquidar (0.5μM). In PET scans acquired before tariquidar administration, brain-to-blood ratio (Kb,brain) of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil was low in wild-type (1.3±0.1), Mrp1((-/-)) (1.4±0.1) and Bcrp1((-/-)) mice (1.8±0.1) and high in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) (6.9±0.8) and Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice (7.9±0.5). In PET scans after tariquidar administration, Kb,brain was significantly increased in Pgp-expressing mice (wild-type: 5.0±0.3-fold, Mrp1((-/-)): 3.2±0.6-fold, Bcrp1((-/-)): 4.3±0.1-fold) but not in Pgp knockout mice (Mdr1a/b((-/-)) and Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-))).
Our combined in vitro and in vivo data demonstrate that verapamil, in nanomolar concentrations, is selectively transported by Pgp and not by MRP1 and BCRP at the BBB, which supports the use of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil or racemic [(11)C]verapamil as PET tracers of cerebral Pgp function.
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 07/2013; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporters P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) are 2 major gatekeepers at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that restrict brain distribution of several clinically used drugs. In this study, we investigated the suitability of the radiolabeled Pgp/BCRP inhibitors (11)C-tariquidar and (11)C-elacridar to assess Pgp density in the human brain with PET.
Healthy subjects underwent a first PET scan of 120-min duration with either (11)C-tariquidar (n = 6) or (11)C-elacridar (n = 5) followed by a second PET scan of 60-min duration with (R)-(11)C-verapamil. During scan 1 (at 60 min after radiotracer injection), unlabeled tariquidar (3 mg/kg) was intravenously administered. Data were analyzed using 1-tissue 2-rate-constant (1T2K) and 2-tissue 4-rate-constant (2T4K) compartment models and either metabolite-corrected or uncorrected arterial input functions.
After injection of (11)C-tariquidar or (11)C-elacridar, the brain PET signal corrected for radioactivity in the vasculature was low (∼0.1 standardized uptake value), with slow washout. In response to tariquidar injection, a moderate but statistically significant rise in brain PET signal was observed for (11)C-tariquidar (+27% ± 15%, P = 0.014, paired t test) and (11)C-elacridar (+21% ± 15%, P = 0.014) without changes in plasma activity concentrations. Low levels of radiolabeled metabolites (<25%) were detected in plasma up to 60 min after injection of (11)C-tariquidar or (11)C-elacridar. The 2T4K model provided better data fits than the 1T2K model. Model outcome parameters were similar when metabolite-corrected or uncorrected input functions were used. There was no significant correlation between distribution volumes of (11)C-tariquidar or (11)C-elacridar and distribution volumes of (R)-(11)C-verapamil in different brain regions.
The in vivo behavior of (11)C-tariquidar and (11)C-elacridar was consistent with that of dual Pgp/BCRP substrates. Both tracers were unable to visualize cerebral Pgp density, most likely because of insufficiently high binding affinities in relation to the low density of Pgp in human brain (∼1.3 nM). Despite their inability to visualize Pgp density, (11)C-tariquidar and (11)C-elacridar may find use as a new class of radiotracers to study the interplay of Pgp and BCRP at the human BBB in limiting brain uptake of dual substrates.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 07/2013; · 5.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies in rodent models of epilepsy suggest that multidrug efflux transporters at the blood-brain barrier, such as P-glycoprotein, might contribute to pharmacoresistance by reducing target-site concentrations of antiepileptic drugs. We assessed P-glycoprotein activity in vivo in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.
We selected 16 patients with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy who had seizures despite treatment with at least two antiepileptic drugs, eight patients who had been seizure-free on antiepileptic drugs for at least a year after 3 or more years of active temporal lobe epilepsy, and 17 healthy controls. All participants had a baseline PET scan with the P-glycoprotein substrate (R)-[(11)C]verapamil. Pharmacoresistant patients and healthy controls then received a 30-min infusion of the P-glycoprotein-inhibitor tariquidar followed by another (R)-[(11)C]verapamil PET scan 60 min later. Seizure-free patients had a second scan on the same day, but without tariquidar infusion. Voxel-by-voxel, we calculated the (R)-[(11)C]verapamil plasma-to-brain transport rate constant, K1 (mL/min/cm(3)). Low baseline K1 and attenuated K1 increases after tariquidar correspond to high P-glycoprotein activity.
Between October, 2008, and November, 2011, we completed (R)-[(11)C]verapamil PET studies in 14 pharmacoresistant patients, eight seizure-free patients, and 13 healthy controls. Voxel-based analysis revealed that pharmacoresistant patients had lower baseline K1, corresponding to higher baseline P-glycoprotein activity, than seizure-free patients in ipsilateral amygdala (0·031 vs 0·036 mL/min/cm(3); p=0·014), bilateral parahippocampus (0·032 vs 0·037; p<0·0001), fusiform gyrus (0·036 vs 0·041; p<0·0001), inferior temporal gyrus (0·035 vs 0·041; p<0·0001), and middle temporal gyrus (0·038 vs 0·044; p<0·0001). Higher P-glycoprotein activity was associated with higher seizure frequency in whole-brain grey matter (p=0·016) and the hippocampus (p=0·029). In healthy controls, we noted a 56·8% increase of whole-brain K1 after 2 mg/kg tariquidar, and 57·9% for 3 mg/kg; in patients with pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy, whole-brain K1 increased by only 21·9% for 2 mg/kg and 42·6% after 3 mg/kg. This difference in tariquidar response was most pronounced in the sclerotic hippocampus (mean 24·5% increase in patients vs mean 65% increase in healthy controls, p<0·0001).
Our results support the hypothesis that there is an association between P-glycoprotein overactivity in some regions of the brain and pharmacoresistance in temporal lobe epilepsy. If this relation is confirmed, and P-glycoprotein can be identified as a contributor to pharmacoresistance, overcoming P-glycoprotein overactivity could be investigated as a potential treatment strategy.
EU-FP7 programme (EURIPIDES number 201380).
The Lancet Neurology 06/2013; · 23.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION: The adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) protects the brain from accumulation of lipophilic compounds by active efflux transport across the blood-brain barrier. Changes in Pgp function/expression may occur in neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. In this work we investigated the suitability of the radiolabeled Pgp inhibitors [(11)C]elacridar and [(11)C]tariquidar to visualize Pgp density in rat brain with PET. METHODS: Rats underwent a first PET scan with [(11)C]elacridar (n=5) or [(11)C]tariquidar (n=6) followed by a second scan with the Pgp substrate (R)-[(11)C]verapamil after administration of unlabeled tariquidar at a dose which half-maximally inhibits cerebral Pgp (3mg/kg). Compartmental modeling using an arterial input function and Logan graphical analysis were used to estimate rate constants and volumes of distribution (VT) of radiotracers in different brain regions. RESULTS: Brain PET signals of [(11)C]elacridar and [(11)C]tariquidar were very low (~0.5 standardized uptake value, SUV). There was a significant negative correlation between VT and K1 (i.e. influx rate constant from plasma into brain) values of [(11)C]elacridar or [(11)C]tariquidar and VT and K1 values of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil in different brain regions which was consistent with binding of [(11)C]inhibitors to Pgp and efflux of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil by Pgp. CONCLUSION: The small Pgp binding signals obtained with [(11)C]elacridar and [(11)C]tariquidar limit the applicability of these tracers to measure cerebral Pgp density. PET tracers with higher (i.e. subnanomolar) binding affinities will be needed to visualize the low density of Pgp in brain.
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 06/2013; · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Elacridar and tariquidar are generally thought to be non-transported inhibitors of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), but recent data indicate that they may also be substrates of these multidrug transporters (MDTs). The present study was designed to investigate potential transport of elacridar and tariquidar by MDTs at the blood-brain barrier at tracer doses as used in positron emission tomography (PET) studies. We performed PET scans with carbon-11-labelled elacridar and tariquidar before and after MDT inhibition in wild-type and transporter knockout mice as well as in in-vitro transport assays in MDT-overexpressing cells. Brain entrance of [(11)C]elacridar and [(11)C]tariquidar administered in nanomolar tracer doses was found to be limited by Pgp- and Bcrp1-mediated efflux at the mouse blood-brain barrier. At higher, MDT-inhibitory doses, i.e. 15 mg/kg for tariquidar and 5 mg/kg for elacridar, brain activity uptake of [(11)C]elacridar at 25 min after tracer injection was 5.8±0.3, 2.1±0.2 and 7.5±1.0-fold higher in wild-type, Mdr1a/b((-/-,)) and Bcrp1((-/-)) mice, respectively, but remained unchanged in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) Bcrp1((-/-)) mice. Activity uptake of [(11)C]tariquidar was 2.8±0.2 and 6.8±0.4-fold higher in wild-type and Bcrp1((-/-)) mice, but remained unchanged in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) and Mdr1a/b((-/-)) Bcrp1((-/-)) mice. Consistent with the in-vivo findings, in-vitro uptake assays in Pgp and Bcrp1 overexpressing cell lines confirmed low intracellular accumulation of elacridar and tariquidar at nanomolar concentrations and increased uptake at micromolar concentrations. As this study shows that microdoses can behave pharmacokinetically different from MDT-inhibitory doses if a compound interacts with MDTs, conclusions from microdose studies should be drawn carefully.
Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals 01/2013; · 3.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We assessed the pharmacokinetics (PK), tolerability and safety of tariquidar (TQD), a P-glycoprotein (Pgp) inhibitor, after intravenous administration of single ascending doses. Employed doses were up to 4-fold higher than in previous clinical trials in cancer patients and are capable of inhibiting Pgp at the blood-brain barrier. Fifteen male healthy volunteers were randomized to receive single intravenous doses of TQD at 4, 6 or 8 mg/kg body weight and underwent blood sampling for over 24 h. TQD concentrations were determined in plasma samples with high-performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. No dose-limiting toxicities of TQD were observed. The area under the plasma concentration-time curve from start until 24 h after the end of infusion was positively correlated with an administered TQD dose (r = 0.8981, p < 0.0001). Moreover, we found a positive correlation for volume of distribution at steady state (r = 0.7129, p = 0.0004) with TQD dose. Dose dependency of volume of distribution at steady state points to non-linear PK of TQD, which was in all likelihood caused by transporter saturation at high TQD doses. Acceptable safety and tolerability as well as dose-linear increases in plasma exposure support the future use of TQD at doses up to 8 mg/kg to inhibit Pgp at the human blood-brain barrier.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: This study investigated the influence of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibitor tariquidar on the pharmacokinetics of P-gp substrate radiotracer (R)-[11C]verapamil in plasma and brain of rats and humans by means of positron emission tomography (PET). METHODS: Data obtained from a preclinical and clinical study, in which paired (R)-[11C]verapamil PET scans were performed before, during, and after tariquidar administration, were analyzed using nonlinear mixed effects (NLME) modeling. Administration of tariquidar was included as a covariate on the influx and efflux parameters (Qin and Qout) in order to investigate if tariquidar increased influx or decreased outflux of radiotracer across the blood--brain barrier (BBB). Additionally, the influence of pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus (SE) was tested on all model parameters, and the brain-to-plasma partition coefficient (VT-NLME) was calculated. RESULTS: Our model indicated that tariquidar enhances brain uptake of (R)-[11C]verapamil by decreasing Qout. The reduction in Qout in rats during and immediately after tariquidar administration (sevenfold) was more pronounced than in the second PET scan acquired 2 h after tariquidar administration (fivefold). The effect of tariquidar on Qout in humans was apparent during and immediately after tariquidar administration (twofold reduction in Qout) but was negligible in the second PET scan. SE was found to influence the pharmacological volume of distribution of the central brain compartment Vbr1. Tariquidar treatment lead to an increase in VT-NLME, and pilocarpine-induced SE lead to increased (R)-[11C]verapamil distribution to the peripheral brain compartment. CONCLUSIONS: Using NLME modeling, we were able to provide mechanistic insight into the effects of tariquidar and SE on (R)-[11C]verapamil transport across the BBB in control and 48 h post SE rats as well as in humans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HM30181, a potent and selective inhibitor of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp), was shown to enhance oral bioavailability and improve antitumour efficacy of paclitaxel in mouse tumour models. In search for a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer to visualise Pgp expression levels at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), we examined the ability of HM30181 to inhibit Pgp at the murine BBB. HM30181 was shown to be approximately equipotent with the reference Pgp inhibitor tariquidar in inhibiting rhodamine 123 efflux from CCRF-CEM T cells (IC(50), tariquidar: 8.2±2.0nM, HM30181: 13.1±2.3nM). PET scans with the Pgp substrate (R)-[(11)C]verapamil in FVB wild-type mice pretreated i.v. with HM30181 (10 or 21mg/kg) failed to show significant increases in (R)-[(11)C]verapamil brain uptake compared with vehicle treated animals. PET scans with [(11)C]HM30181 showed low and not significantly different brain uptake of [(11)C]HM30181 in wild-type, Mdr1a/b((-/-)) and Bcrp1((-/-)) mice and significantly, i.e. 4.7-fold (P<0.01), higher brain uptake, relative to wild-type animals, in Mdr1a/b((-/-))Bcrp1((-/-)) mice. This was consistent with HM30181 being at microdoses a dual substrate of Pgp and breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp). In vitro autoradiography on low (EMT6) and high (EMT6Ar1.0) Pgp expressing murine breast tumour sections showed 1.9 times higher binding of [(11)C]HM30181 in EMT6Ar1.0 tumours (P<0.001) which was displaceable with unlabelled tariquidar, elacridar or HM30181 (1μM). Our data suggest that HM30181 is not able to inhibit Pgp at the murine BBB at clinically feasible doses and that [(11)C]HM30181 is not suitable as a PET tracer to visualise cerebral Pgp expression levels.
European journal of pharmacology 09/2012; · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With the aim to develop a PET tracer to visualize P-glycoprotein (Pgp) expression levels in different organs, the Pgp inhibitor MC113 was labeled with (11)C and evaluated using small-animal PET.
[(11)C]MC113 was synthesized by reaction of O-desmethyl MC113 with [(11)C]methyl triflate. Small-animal PET was performed with [(11)C]MC113 in FVB wild-type and Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice (n=3 per group) and in a mouse model of high (EMT6Ar1.0) and low (EMT6) Pgp expressing tumor grafts (n=5). In the tumor model, PET scans were performed before and after administration of the reference Pgp inhibitor tariquidar (15mg/kg).
Brain uptake of [(11)C]MC113, expressed as area under the time-activity curve from time 0 to 60min (AUC(0-60)), was moderately but not significantly increased in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) compared with wild-type mice (mean±SD AUC(0-60), Mdr1a/b((-/-)): 88±7min, wild-type: 62±6min, P=0.100, Mann Whitney test). In the tumor model, AUC(0-60) values were not significantly different between EMT6Ar1.0 and EMT6 tumors. Neither in brain nor in tumors was activity concentration significantly changed in response to tariquidar administration. Half-maximum effect concentrations (IC(50)) for inhibition of Pgp-mediated rhodamine 123 efflux from CCRFvcr1000 cells were 375±60nM for MC113 versus 8.5±2.5nM for tariquidar.
[(11)C]MC113 showed higher brain uptake in mice than previously described Pgp PET tracers, suggesting that [(11)C]MC113 was only to a low extent effluxed by Pgp. However, [(11)C]MC113 was found unsuitable to visualize Pgp expression levels presumably due to insufficiently high Pgp binding affinity of MC113 in relation to Pgp densities in brain and tumors.
Nuclear Medicine and Biology 09/2012; 39(8):1219-25. · 2.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is the most abundant multidrug efflux transporter at the human blood-brain barrier (BBB), restricting brain distribution of various drugs. In this study, we developed a positron emission tomography (PET) protocol to visualize Bcrp function at the murine BBB, based on the dual P-glycoprotein (P-gp)/Bcrp substrate radiotracer [(11)C]tariquidar in combination with the Bcrp inhibitor Ko143. To eliminate the contribution of P-gp efflux to [(11)C]tariquidar brain distribution, we studied mice in which P-gp was genetically knocked out (Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice) or chemically knocked out by pretreatment with cold tariquidar. We found that [(11)C]tariquidar brain uptake increased dose dependently after administration of escalating doses of Ko143, both in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice and in tariquidar pretreated wild-type mice. After 15 mg/kg Ko143, the maximum increase in [(11)C]tariquidar brain uptake relative to baseline scans was 6.3-fold in Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice with a half-maximum effect dose of 4.98 mg/kg and 3.6-fold in tariquidar (8 mg/kg) pretreated wild-type mice, suggesting that the presented protocol is sensitive to visualize a range of different functional Bcrp activities at the murine BBB. We expect that this protocol can be translated to the clinic, because tariquidar can be safely administered to humans at doses that completely inhibit cerebral P-gp.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 25 July 2012; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2012.112.
Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism 07/2012; · 5.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim of this study was to determine whether the carbon-11-labeled antiepileptic drug [(11)C]mephobarbital is a substrate of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and can be used to assess Pgp function at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) with positron emission tomography (PET). We performed paired PET scans in rats, wild-type (FVB) and Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice, before and after intravenous administration of the Pgp inhibitor tariquidar (15mg/kg). Brain-to-blood AUC(0-60) ratios in rats and brain AUC(0-60) values of [(11)C]mephobarbital in wild-type and Mdr1a/b((-/-)) mice were similar in scans 1 and 2, respectively, suggesting that in vivo brain distribution of [(11)C]mephobarbital is not influenced by Pgp efflux. Absence of Pgp transport was confirmed in vitro by performing concentration equilibrium transport assay in cell lines transfected with MDR1 or Mdr1a. PET experiments in wild-type mice, with and without pretreatment with the multidrug resistance protein (MRP) inhibitor MK571 (20mg/kg), and in Mrp1((-/-)) mice suggested that [(11)C]mephobarbital is also not transported by MRPs at the murine BBB, which was also supported by in vitro transport experiments using human MRP1-transfected cells. Our results are surprising, as phenobarbital, the N-desmethyl derivative of mephobarbital, has been shown to be a substrate of Pgp, which suggests that N-methylation abolishes Pgp affinity of barbiturates.
Epilepsy research 02/2012; 100(1-2):93-103. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One important mechanism for chemoresistance of tumours is overexpression of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp). Pgp reduces intracellular concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs. The aim of this study was to compare the suitability of the radiolabelled Pgp inhibitors [(11)C]tariquidar and [(11)C]elacridar with the Pgp substrate radiotracer (R)-[(11)C]verapamil for discriminating tumours expressing low and high levels of Pgp using small-animal PET imaging in a murine breast cancer model.
Murine mammary carcinoma cells (EMT6) were continuously exposed to doxorubicin to generate a Pgp-overexpressing, doxorubicin-resistant cell line (EMT6AR1.0 cells). Both cell lines were subcutaneously injected into female athymic nude mice. One week after implantation, animals underwent PET scans with [(11)C]tariquidar (n = 7), [(11)C]elacridar (n = 6) and (R)-[(11)C]verapamil (n = 7), before and after administration of unlabelled tariquidar (15 mg/kg). Pgp expression in tumour grafts was evaluated by Western blotting.
[(11)C]Tariquidar showed significantly higher retention in Pgp-overexpressing EMT6AR1.0 compared with EMT6 tumours: the mean ± SD areas under the time-activity curves in scan 1 from time 0 to 60 min (AUC(0-60)) were 38.8 ± 2.2 min and 25.0 ± 5.3 min (p = 0.016, Wilcoxon matched pairs test). [(11)C]Elacridar and (R)-[(11)C]verapamil were not able to discriminate Pgp expression in tumour models. Following administration of unlabelled tariquidar, both EMT6Ar1.0 and EMT6 tumours showed increases in uptake of [(11)C]tariquidar, [(11)C]elacridar and (R)-[(11)C]verapamil.
Among the tested radiotracers, [(11)C]tariquidar performed best in discriminating tumours expressing high and low levels of Pgp. Therefore [(11)C]tariquidar merits further investigation as a PET tracer to assess Pgp expression levels in solid tumours.
European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 01/2012; 39(1):149-59. · 4.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging we assessed, in vivo, the interaction between a microdose of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil (a P-glycoprotein (Pgp) substrate) and escalating doses of the Pgp inhibitor tariquidar (3, 4, 6, and 8 mg/kg) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in healthy human subjects. We compared the dose-response relationship of tariquidar in humans with data obtained in rats using a similar methodology. Tariquidar was equipotent in humans and rats in its effect of increasing (R)-[(11)C]verapamil brain uptake (expressed as whole-brain volume of distribution (V(T))), with very similar half-maximum-effect concentrations. Both in humans and in rats, brain V(T) approached plateau levels at plasma tariquidar concentrations >1,000 ng/ml. However, Pgp inhibition in humans led to only a 2.7-fold increase in brain V(T) relative to baseline scans (before administration of tariquidar) as compared with 11.0-fold in rats. The results of this translational study add to the accumulating evidence that there are marked species-dependent differences in Pgp expression and functionality at the BBB.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A major pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease is accumulation of amyloid-β in senile plaques in the brain. Evidence is accumulating that decreased clearance of amyloid-β from the brain may lead to these elevated amyloid-β levels. One of the clearance pathways of amyloid-β is transport across the blood-brain barrier via efflux transporters. P-glycoprotein, an efflux pump highly expressed at the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier, has been shown to transport amyloid-β. P-glycoprotein function can be assessed in vivo using (R)-[(11)C]verapamil and positron emission tomography. The aim of this study was to assess blood-brain barrier P-glycoprotein function in patients with Alzheimer's disease compared with age-matched healthy controls using (R)-[(11)C]verapamil and positron emission tomography. In 13 patients with Alzheimer's disease (age 65 ± 7 years, Mini-Mental State Examination 23 ± 3), global (R)-[(11)C]verapamil binding potential values were increased significantly (P = 0.001) compared with 14 healthy controls (aged 62 ± 4 years, Mini-Mental State Examination 30 ± 1). Global (R)-[(11)C]verapamil binding potential values were 2.18 ± 0.25 for patients with Alzheimer's disease and 1.77 ± 0.41 for healthy controls. In patients with Alzheimer's disease, higher (R)-[(11)C]verapamil binding potential values were found for frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital cortices, and posterior and anterior cingulate. No significant differences between groups were found for medial temporal lobe and cerebellum. These data show altered kinetics of (R)-[(11)C]verapamil in Alzheimer's disease, similar to alterations seen in studies where P-glycoprotein is blocked by a pharmacological agent. As such, these data indicate that P-glycoprotein function is decreased in patients with Alzheimer's disease. This is the first direct evidence that the P-glycoprotein transporter at the blood-brain barrier is compromised in sporadic Alzheimer's disease and suggests that decreased P-glycoprotein function may be involved in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.