[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physiological studies of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) are often performed in rats. We describe the functional characterization of a reproducible in vitro model of the rat BBB and its validation for investigating mechanisms involved in BBB regulation. Puromycin-purified primary cultures of brain endothelial cells, co-cultured with astrocytes in the presence of hydrocortisone (HC) and cAMP, presented low sucrose permeability (< or =0.1 x 10(-3) cm/min) and high transendothelial electrical resistance (> or =270 Omega cm(2)). Expression of specific BBB markers and their transcripts was detected by immunostaining and RT-PCR, respectively: tight junction proteins (claudin-3 and -5, ZO-1 and occludin) and transporters (P-gp, Bcrp and Oatp-2). RT-PCR experiments demonstrated a role of treatment by astrocytes, HC and cAMP in regulation of the transcript level of tight junction proteins (claudin-5 and ZO-1) as well as transporters (Mdr1a, Mrp3, Mrp4, Bcrp, Glut-1), while transcript level of Mdr1b was significantly decreased. The functionality of efflux pumps (P-gp, Mrps and Bcrp) was demonstrated in the presence of specific inhibitors (PSC833, MK571 or Ko143, respectively) by (i) assessing the uptake of the common substrates rhodamine 123 and daunorubicin and (ii) evaluating apical to basolateral and basolateral to apical polarized transport of daunorubicin. In addition, a good correlation (R=0.94) was obtained between the permeability coefficients of a series of compounds of various lipophilicity and their corresponding in vivo rodent blood-brain transfer coefficients. Taken together, our results provide compelling evidence that puromycin-purified rat brain endothelial cells constitute a reliable model of the rat BBB for physiological and pharmacological characterization of BBB transporters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Morphine-6-glucuronide (M6G), an active metabolite of morphine, has been shown to have significantly attenuated brain penetration relative to that of morphine. Recently, we have demonstrated that conjugation of various drugs to peptide vectors significantly enhances their brain uptake. In this study, we have conjugated morphine-6-glucuronide to a peptide vector SynB3 to enhance its brain uptake and its analgesic potency after systemic administration. We show by in situ brain perfusion that vectorization of M6G (Syn1001) markedly enhances the brain uptake of M6G. This enhancement results in a significant improvement in the pharmacological activity of M6G in several models of nociception. Syn1001 was about 4 times more potent than free M6G (ED(50) of 1.87 versus 8.74 micromol/kg). Syn1001 showed also a prolonged duration of action compared with free M6G (300 and 120 min, respectively). Furthermore, the conjugation of M6G results in a lowered respiratory depression, as measured in a rat model. Taken together, these data strongly support the utility of peptide-mediated strategies for improving the efficacy of drugs such as M6G for the treatment of pain.
Preview · Article · Jun 2005 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One of the main difficulties with primary rat brain endothelial cell (RBEC) cultures is obtaining pure cultures. The variation in purity limits the achievement of in vitro models of the rat blood-brain barrier. As P-glycoprotein expression is known to be much higher in RBECs than in any contaminating cells, we have tested the effect of five P-glycoprotein substrates (vincristine, vinblastine, colchicine, puromycin and doxorubicin) on RBEC cultures, assuming that RBECs would resist the treatment with these toxic compounds whereas contaminating cells would not. Treatment with either 4 microg/mL puromycin for the first 2 days of culture or 3 microg/mL puromycin for the first 3 days showed the best results without causing toxicity to the cells. Transendothelial electrical resistance was significantly increased in cell monolayers treated with puromycin compared with untreated cell monolayers. When cocultured with astrocytes in the presence of cAMP, the puromycin-treated RBEC monolayer showed a highly reduced permeability to sodium fluorescein (down to 0.75 x 10(-6) cm/s) and a high electrical resistance (up to 500 Omega x cm(2)). In conclusion, this method of RBEC purification will allow the production of in vitro models of the rat blood-brain barrier for cellular and molecular biology studies as well as pharmacological investigations.
Full-text · Article · May 2005 · Journal of Neurochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite major advances in neuroscience, many potential therapeutic agents are denied access to the central nervous system because of the existence of the blood–brain barrier. The current challenge is to develop strategies that will allow the transport of therapeutic drugs into the brain in a safe and effective manner. During the last decade, several cell-penetrating peptides have been described, such as SynB vectors, penetratin and Tat that allow the intracellular delivery of polar, biologically active compounds. These small peptides possess multiple positive charges and have the ability to interact with lipid membrane and to adopt a significant secondary structure upon binding to lipids. An even more difficult task for these peptides is to deliver hydrophilic molecules across the blood–brain barrier. SynB vectors have been successfully applied to brain delivery of various drugs including anticancer agents such as doxorubicin, antibiotics and other molecules such as drug-like peptide dalargin across the BBB. In this review article, we review the evidence that SynB vectors and some other vectors can be used both to deliver therapeutic compounds to the brain and to treat models of disease such as pain.
No preview · Article · Apr 2005 · International Congress Series
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the past decade, several peptides that can translocate cell membranes have been identified. Some of these peptides, which can be divided into different families, have short amino acid sequences (10-27 residues in length) and enter the cell by a receptor-independent mechanism. Furthermore, these peptides are capable of internalizing hydrophilic cargoes. Although the detailed mechanism by which these molecules enter cells is poorly understood, their ability to traverse the membrane into the cytoplasm has provided a new and powerful biological tool for transporting drugs across cell membranes.
No preview · Article · Jan 2005 · Drug Discovery Today
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the results obtained with paclitaxel coupled to a peptide-vector SynB3 (PAX-OSUC-SynB3), showing that this peptide-vector enhances the solubility of paclitaxel and its brain uptake in mice using the in situ brain perfusion model. We also show by the in situ brain perfusion in P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-deficient and wild-type mice that vectorized paclitaxel bypasses the P-gp present at the luminal side of the blood-brain barrier. The effect of the vectorized paclitaxel on various cancer cells was not significantly different from that of free paclitaxel. These results indicate that vectorization of paclitaxel may have significant potential for the treatment of brain tumors.
No preview · Article · Dec 2004 · Anti-Cancer Drugs
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A well-known mechanism leading to the emergence of multidrug-resistant tumor cells is the overexpression of P-glycoprotein, which is capable of lowering intracellular drug concentrations. In the present study, we tested the capability of 2-pyrrolinodoxorubicin (p-DOX), a highly potent derivative of DOX, to bypass multidrug resistance. The accumulation, intracellular distribution and cytotoxicity of p-DOX were tested in two cell lines (K562 and A2780) and their DOX-resistant counterparts (K562/ADR and A2780/ADR). Cellular accumulation and cytotoxicity were dramatically lowered for DOX in resistant cell lines, in comparison with non-resistant cells. In contrast, cellular accumulation, intracellular distribution and cytotoxicity of p-DOX were independent of the nature of the cell lines. The p-DOX showed potent dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth against resistant cells as compared with DOX. After treatment of resistant cells with verapamil, the intracellular levels of DOX were markedly increased and consequent cytotoxicity improved. In contrast, treatment of resistant cells with verapamil did not cause any further enhancement of cell uptake or an increase in the cytotoxic effect of the derivative p-DOX, indicating that the compound bypasses the P-glycoprotein. Finally, we show that vectorization of p-DOX by a peptide vector (SynB3) which has been shown to enhance the brain uptake of DOX and to decrease its heart accumulation does not affect this property. These results indicate that p-DOX and its vectorized form are potent and effective in overcoming multidrug resistance.
No preview · Article · Aug 2004 · Anti-Cancer Drugs
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Morphine-6-beta-d-glucuronide (M6G) is an active metabolite of morphine with high analgesic potency despite a low blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. The aim of the study was to elucidate its transport mechanism across the BBB. We first checked if M6G was effluxed by the P-glycoprotein (P-gp), as previously reported by others. Second, we investigated the role of anionic transporters like the multidrug resistance-associated protein mrp1 and the glucose transporter GLUT-1. The brain uptake of [14C]M6G was measured by the in situ brain perfusion technique in wild-type and deficient mice [mdr1a(-/-) and mrp1(-/-)], with and without probenecid, digoxin, PSC833 or d-glucose. No difference was found between P-gp and mrp1 competent and deficient mice. The brain uptake of [14C]M6G co-perfused with probenecid in wild-type mice was not significantly different from that found in group perfused with [14C]M6G alone. The co-perfusion of [14C]M6G with digoxin or PSC833 was responsible of a threefold decrease of its uptake in mdr1a competent and deficient mice, suggesting that another transporter than P-gp and sensitive to digoxin and PSC833, may be involved. The co-perfusion of [14C]M6G with d-glucose revealed a threefold decrease in M6G uptake. In conclusion, P-gp and mrp1 are not involved in the transport of M6G at the BBB level in contrast to GLUT-1 and a digoxin-sensitive transporter (probably oatp2), which can actively transport M6G but with a weak capacity.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2003 · Journal of Neurochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A great deal of data has been amassed suggesting that cationic peptides are able to translocate into eucaryotic cells in a temperature-independent manner. Although such peptides are widely used to promote the intracellular delivery of bioactive molecules, the mechanism by which this cell-penetrating activity occurs still remains unclear. Here, we present an in vitro study of the cellular uptake of peptides, originally deriving from protegrin (the SynB peptide vectors), that have also been shown to enhance the transport of drugs across the blood-brain barrier. In parallel, we have examined the internalization process of two lipid-interacting peptides, SynB5 and pAntp-(43-58), the latter corresponding to the translocating segment of the Antennapedia homeodomain. We report a quantitative study of the time- and dose-dependence of internalization and demonstrate that these peptides accumulate inside vesicular structures. Furthermore, we have examined the role of endocytotic pathways in this process using a variety of metabolic and endocytosis inhibitors. We show that the internalization of these peptides is a temperature- and energy-dependent process and that endosomal transport is a key component of the mechanism. Altogether, our results suggest that SynB and pAntp-(43-58) peptides penetrate into cells by an adsorptive-mediated endocytosis process rather than temperature-independent translocation.
No preview · Article · Sep 2003 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The blood-brain barrier restricts the passage of substances into the brain. Neuropeptides, such as enkephalins, cannot be delivered into the brain when given systemically because of this barrier. Therefore, there is a need to develop efficient transport systems to deliver these drugs to the brain. Recently, we have demonstrated that conjugation of doxorubicin or penicillin to peptide vectors significantly enhances their brain uptake. In this study, we have conjugated the enkephalin analog dalargin with two different peptide vectors, SynB1 and SynB3, to improve its brain delivery and its pharmacological effect. We show by in situ brain perfusion that vectorization markedly enhances the brain uptake of dalargin. We also show using the hot-plate model that this enhancement in brain uptake results in a significant improvement in the observed antinociceptive effect of dalargin. These results support the usefulness of peptide-mediated strategies for improving the availability and efficacy of central nervous system drugs.
Preview · Article · Aug 2003 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linear peptides (SynB vectors) with specific sequence motifs have been identified that are capable of enhancing the transport of a wide range of molecules into cells. These peptide vectors have been used to deliver exogenous peptides and protein Ags across the cell membrane and into the cytoplasm of cells. Specifically, in vitro analysis indicated that these SynB peptides enhanced the uptake of two 9-mer peptide Ags, NP(147-155) and Mtb(250-258) (T cell epitopes of influenza nucleoprotein and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, respectively) and the M. tuberculosis Ag Mtb8.4 protein, into K562 cells when covalently linked to the respective Ags. Furthermore, selected SynB vectors, when conjugated to these same Ags and used as immunogens, resulted in considerably enhanced Ag-specific CTL responses. Several SynB vectors were tested and resulted in varying levels of cellular uptake. The efficiency of uptake correlated with the ability of the SynB construct to deliver each epitope in vivo and induce specific CTL responses in mice. These data suggest that peptide vectors, such as SynB that transport target Ags across the cell membrane in a highly efficient manner, have significant potential for vaccine delivery.
Preview · Article · Mar 2003 · The Journal of Immunology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During the last decade, several peptides have been described, such as SynB vectors  penetratin and Tat [2, 3] that allow the intracellular delivery of polar, biologically active compounds in vitro and in vivo [2, 4]. These peptides, belonging to various families, are heterogeneous in size (10 to 18 amino acids) and sequence (Tab. 1). However, all these peptides possess multiple positive charges and some of them share common features such as important theoretical hydrophobicity and helical moment (reflecting the peptide amphipathicity), the ability to interact with lipid membrane and to adopt a significant secondary structure upon binding to lipids. The facility with which they cross the membrane into the cytoplasm even when carrying hydrophilic molecules has provided a new and powerful tool in biomedical research [3, 4]. An even more difficult task was to use these peptide vectors to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This chapter emphasizes the use of peptide vectors for brain delivery.
No preview · Article · Feb 2003 · Fortschritte der Arzneimittelforschung. Progress in drug research. Progrès des recherches pharmaceutiques
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies from our laboratory have demonstrated that the coupling of doxorubicin with SynB1 vector dramatically increases its brain uptake. In the present study, we have evaluated the broad application of this approach using another molecule: benzylpenicillin (B-Pc). We, therefore, have coupled the beta-lactam antibiotic B-Pc with SynB1 and assessed its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) using the in situ rat brain perfusion method. We first confirmed the very low brain uptake of free radiolabeled B-Pc. When B-Pc was coupled to SynB1, its uptake in brain was increased by a factor of 7, without compromising the BBB integrity. The vectorised B-Pc was distributed in all the gray areas assessed (frontal, parietal, and occipital cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, and striatum). Moreover, using a wash-out procedure and a capillary depletion method, we have shown that the radiolabeled B-Pc was associated mainly with brain parenchyma. In summary, this study demonstrates the successful application of the use of SynB1 vector for the transport of B-Pc across the BBB.
No preview · Article · Jul 2002 · Journal of Drug Targeting
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The protegrin PG-1, belonging to the family of beta-stranded antimicrobial peptides, exerts its activity by forming pores in the target biological membranes. Linear analogues derived from PG-1 do not form pores in the phospholipid membranes and have been used successfully to deliver therapeutic compounds into eucaryotic cells. In this paper, the translocation of PG-1 and of a linear analogue through artificial phospholipid membranes was investigated, leading to a possible mechanism for the activity of these peptidic vectors. We report here that [12W]PG-1, a fluorescent analogue of PG-1, is able to translocate through lipid bilayers and we demonstrate that this property depends on its secondary structure. Our results agree with the recent mechanism proposed for the translocation and permeabilisation activities of several helical and beta-stranded peptides. In addition, our data corroborate recent work suggesting that certain protegrin-derived vectors enter into endothelial cells by adsorptive-mediated endocytosis.
Preview · Article · Mar 2002 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biological membranes normally restrict the passage of hydrophilic molecules. This impairs the use of a wide variety of drugs for biomedical applications. To overcome this problem, researchers have developed strategies that involve conjugating the molecule of interest to one of a number of peptide entities that are efficiently transported across the cell membranes. In the past decade, a number of different peptide families with the ability to cross the cell membranes have been identified. Certain of these families enter the cells by a receptor-independent mechanism, are short (10-27 amino acid residues), and can deliver successfully various cargoes across the cell membrane into the cytoplasm or nucleus. Surprisingly, some of these vectors, the SynB vectors, have also shown the ability to deliver hydrophilic molecules across the blood-brain barrier, one of the major obstacles to the development of drugs to combat diseases affecting the CNS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a consequence of the growing ageing population, many neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and infections of the brain will become more prevalent. Despite major advances in neuroscience, many potential therapeutic agents are denied access to the central nervous system (CNS) because of the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This barrier is formed by the endothelial cells of the brain capillaries and its primary characteristic is the impermeability of the capillary wall due to the presence of complex tight junctions and a low endocytic activity. The BBB behaves as a continuous lipid bilayer and prevents the passage of polar and lipid-insoluble substances. The BBB is, therefore, the major obstacle to drugs that are potentially useful for combating diseases affecting the CNS. Extensive efforts have been made to develop CNS drug delivery strategies in order to enhance delivery of therapeutic molecules across the BBB. The current challenge is to develop drug-delivery strategies that will allow the passage of therapeutic drugs through the BBB in a safe and effective manner. This review focuses specifically on the strategies developed to enhance drug delivery across the BBB with an emphasis on the vector-mediated strategy.
No preview · Article · Oct 2001 · Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pAntp peptide, corresponding to the third helix of the Antennapedia homeodomain, is internalized by a receptor-independent process into eucaryotic cells. The precise mechanism of entry remains unclear but the interaction between the phospholipids of plasma membrane and pAntp is probably involved in the translocation process. In order to define the role of peptide-lipid interaction in this mechanism and the physico-chemical properties that are necessary for an efficient cellular uptake, we have carried out an Ala-Scan mapping. The peptides were labeled with a fluorescent group (7-nitrobenz-2-oxo-1,3-diazol-4-yl-; NBD) and their cell association was measured by flow cytometry. Furthermore, we determined the fraction of internalized peptide by using a dithionite treatment. Comparison between cell association and cell uptake suggests that the affinity of pAntp for the plasma membrane is required for the import process. To further investigate which are the physico-chemical requirements for phospholipid-binding of pAntp, we have determined the surface partition coefficient of peptides by titrating them with phospholipid vesicles having different compositions. In addition, we estimated by circular dichroism the conformation adopted by these peptides in a membrane-mimetic environment. We show that the phospholipid binding of pAntp depends on its helical amphipathicity, especially when the negative surface charge density of phospholipid vesicles is low. The cell uptake of pAntp, related to lipid-binding affinity, requires a minimal hydrophobicity and net charge. As pAntp does not seem to translocate through an artificial phospholipid bilayer, this might indicate that it could interact with other cell surface components or enters into cells by a nonelucidated biological mechanism.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2001 · European Journal of Biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The pAntp peptide, corresponding to the third helix of the homeodomain of the Antennapedia protein, enters by a receptor-independent process into eukaryotic cells. The interaction between the pAntp peptide and the phospholipid matrix of the plasma membrane seems to be the first step involved in the translocation mechanism. However, the mechanism by which the peptide translocates through the cell membrane is still not well established. We have investigated the translocation ability of pAntp through a protein-free phospholipid membrane in comparison with a more amphipathic analogue. We show by fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism, NMR spectroscopy, and molecular modeling that pAntp is not sufficiently helically amphipathic to cross a phospholipid membrane of a model system. Due to its primary sequence related to its DNA binding ability in the Antennapedia homeodomain-DNA complex, the pAntp peptide does not belong to the amphipathic alpha-helical peptide family whose members are able to translocate by pore formation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A well-known mechanism leading to the emergence of multidrug-resistant tumor cells is the overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which is capable of lowering intracellular drug concentrations. To overcome this problem, we tested the capability of two peptide vectors that are able to cross cellular membranes to deliver doxorubicin in P-gp-expressing cells. The antitumor effect of peptide-conjugated doxorubicin was tested in human erythroleukemic (K562/ ADR) resistant cells. The conjugate showed potent dose-dependent inhibition of cell growth against K562/ADR cells as compared with doxorubicin alone. Doxorubicin exhibited IC50 concentrations of 65 microM in the resistant cells, whereas vectorized doxorubicin was more effective with IC50 concentrations of 3 microM. After treatment of the resistant cells with verapamil, the intracellular levels of doxorubicin were markedly increased and consequent cytotoxicity was improved. In contrast, treatment of resistant cells with verapamil did not cause any further enhancement in the cell uptake nor in the cytotoxic effect of the conjugated doxorubicin, indicating that the conjugate bypasses the P-gp. Finally, we show by the in situ brain perfusion method in P-gp-deficient and competent mice that vectorized doxorubicin bypasses the P-gp present at the luminal site of the blood-brain barrier. These results indicate that vectorization of doxorubicin with peptide vectors is effective in overcoming multidrug resistance.
No preview · Article · Mar 2001 · Anti-Cancer Drugs
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Doxorubicin delivery to the brain is often restricted because of the poor transport of this therapeutic molecule through the blood-brain barrier (BBB). To overcome this problem, we have recently developed a technology, Pep:trans, based on short natural-derived peptides that are able to cross efficiently the BBB without compromising its integrity. In this study, we have used the in situ mouse brain perfusion method to evaluate the brain uptake of free and vectorized doxorubicin. Doxorubicin was coupled covalently to small peptide vectors: L-SynB1 (18 amino acids), L-SynB3 (10 amino acids), and its enantio form D-SynB3. We first confirmed the very low brain uptake of free radiolabeled doxorubicin, which is most likely due to the efflux activity of the P-glycoprotein at the level of the BBB. Vectorization with either L-SynB1, L-SynB3, or D-SynB3 significantly increased the brain uptake of doxorubicin (about 30-fold). We also investigated the mechanism of transport of vectorized doxorubicin. We show that vectorized doxorubicin uses a saturable transport mechanism to cross the BBB. The effect of poly(L-lysine) and protamine, endocytosis inhibitors, on the transport across the brain was also investigated. Both inhibitors reduced the brain uptake of vectorized doxorubicin in a dose-dependent manner. These studies indicate that the transport of vectorized doxorubicin appears to occur via an adsorptive-mediated endocytosis.
No preview · Article · Feb 2001 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics