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Mol Pharmacol. 2008 May;73(5):1444-53. Epub 2007 Dec 19.

Seizure-induced up-regulation of P-glycoprotein at the blood-brain barrier through glutamate and cyclooxygenase-2 signaling.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Koeniginstr. 16, 80539 Munich, Germany.


Increased expression of drug efflux transporters at the blood-brain barrier accompanies epileptic seizures and complicates therapy with antiepileptic drugs. This study is concerned with identifying mechanistic links that connect seizure activity to increased P-glycoprotein expression at the blood-brain barrier. In this regard, we tested the hypothesis that seizures increase brain extracellular glutamate, which signals through an N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in brain capillaries to increase blood-brain barrier P-glycoprotein expression. Consistent with this hypothesis, exposing isolated rat or mouse brain capillaries to glutamate for 15 to 30 min increased P-glycoprotein expression and transport activity hours later. These increases were blocked by 5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imine (dizocilpine maleate) (MK-801), an NMDA receptor antagonist, and by celecoxib, a selective COX-2 inhibitor; no such glutamate-induced increases were seen in brain capillaries from COX-2-null mice. In rats, intracerebral microinjection of glutamate caused locally increased P-glycoprotein expression in brain capillaries. Moreover, using a pilocarpine status epilepticus rat model, we observed seizure-induced increases in capillary P-glycoprotein expression that were attenuated by administration of indomethacin, a COX inhibitor. Our findings suggest that brain uptake of some antiepileptic drugs can be enhanced through COX-2 inhibition. Moreover, they provide insight into one mechanism that underlies drug resistance in epilepsy and possibly other central nervous system disorders.

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