Characterization of the Blood-Brain Barrier Integrity and the Brain Transport of SN-38 in an Orthotopic Xenograft Rat Model of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma

Catarina Chaves, Xavier Declèves, Meryam Taghi, Marie-Claude Menet, Joelle Lacombe, Pascale Varlet, Nagore G Olaciregui, Angel M Carcaboso, Salvatore Cisternino
Pharmaceutics 2020 April 27, 12 (5)
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) hinders the brain delivery of many anticancer drugs. In pediatric patients, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) represents the main cause of brain cancer mortality lacking effective drug therapy. Using sham and DIPG-bearing rats, we analyzed 1) the brain distribution of 3-kDa-Texas red-dextran (TRD) or [14 C]-sucrose as measures of BBB integrity, and 2) the role of major ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters at the BBB on the efflux of the irinotecan metabolite [3 H]-SN-38. The unaffected [14 C]-sucrose or TRD distribution in the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brainstem regions in DIPG-bearing animals suggests an intact BBB. Targeted proteomics retrieved no change in P-glycoprotein (P-gp), BCRP, MRP1, and MRP4 levels in the analyzed regions of DIPG rats. In vitro, DIPG cells express BCRP but not P-gp, MRP1, or MRP4. Dual inhibition of P-gp/Bcrp, or Mrp showed a significant increase on SN-38 BBB transport: Cerebrum (8.3-fold and 3-fold, respectively), cerebellum (4.2-fold and 2.8-fold), and brainstem (2.6-fold and 2.2-fold). Elacridar increased [3 H]-SN-38 brain delivery beyond a P-gp/Bcrp inhibitor effect alone, emphasizing the role of another unidentified transporter in BBB efflux of SN-38. These results confirm a well-preserved BBB in DIPG-bearing rats, along with functional ABC-transporter expression. The development of chemotherapeutic strategies to circumvent ABC-mediated BBB efflux are needed to improve anticancer drug delivery against DIPG.

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