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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Feb;91(2):227-33. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.217. Epub 2011 Dec 14.

Pgp-mediated interaction between (R)-[11C]verapamil and tariquidar at the human blood-brain barrier: a comparison with rat data.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


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.

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