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J Nucl Med. 2008 Aug;49(8):1328-35. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.108.051235. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Tariquidar-induced P-glycoprotein inhibition at the rat blood-brain barrier studied with (R)-11C-verapamil and PET.

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Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Pharmacy, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany.


The multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is expressed in high concentrations at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and is believed to be implicated in resistance to central nervous system drugs. We used small-animal PET and (R)-11C-verapamil together with tariquidar, a new-generation P-gp modulator, to study the functional activity of P-gp at the BBB of rats. To enable a comparison with human PET data, we performed kinetic modeling to estimate the rate constants of radiotracer transport across the rat BBB.


A group of 7 Wistar Unilever rats underwent paired (R)-11C-verapamil PET scans at an interval of 3 h: 1 baseline scan and 1 scan after intravenous injection of tariquidar (15 mg/kg, n = 5) or vehicle (n = 2).


After tariquidar administration, the distribution volume (DV) of (R)-11C-verapamil was 12-fold higher than baseline (3.68 +/- 0.81 vs. 0.30 +/- 0.08; P = 0.0007, paired t test), whereas the DVs were essentially the same when only vehicle was administered. The increase in DV could be attributed mainly to an increased influx rate constant (K1) of (R)-11C-verapamil into the brain, which was about 8-fold higher after tariquidar. A dose-response assessment with tariquidar provided an estimated half-maximum effect dose of 8.4 +/- 9.5 mg/kg.


Our data demonstrate that (R)-11C-verapamil PET combined with tariquidar administration is a promising approach to measure P-gp function at the BBB.

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