Large neutral amino acid transporter enables brain drug delivery via prodrugs

J Med Chem. 2008 Feb 28;51(4):932-6. doi: 10.1021/jm701175d. Epub 2008 Jan 25.


The blood-brain barrier efficiently controls the entry of drug molecules into the brain. We describe a feasible means to achieve carrier-mediated drug transport into the rat brain via the specific, large neutral amino acid transporter (LAT1) by conjugating a model compound to L-tyrosine. A hydrophilic drug, ketoprofen, that is not a substrate for LAT1 was chosen as a model compound. The mechanism and the kinetics of the brain uptake of the prodrug were determined with an in situ rat brain perfusion technique. The brain uptake of the prodrug was found to be concentration-dependent. In addition, a specific LAT1 inhibitor significantly decreased the brain uptake of the prodrug. Therefore, our results reveal for the first time that a drug-substrate conjugate is able to transport drugs into the brain via LAT1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Cyclic / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Ketoprofen / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ketoprofen / chemistry
  • Ketoprofen / pharmacokinetics
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1 / metabolism*
  • Leucine / pharmacokinetics
  • Male
  • Perfusion
  • Prodrugs / chemistry
  • Prodrugs / pharmacokinetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tyrosine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tyrosine / chemistry
  • Tyrosine / pharmacokinetics


  • 2-amino-3-(4-(2-(3-benzoylphenyl)propionyloxy)phenyl)propionic acid
  • Amino Acids, Cyclic
  • Large Neutral Amino Acid-Transporter 1
  • Prodrugs
  • 2-aminobicyclo(2,2,1)heptane-2-carboxylic acid
  • Tyrosine
  • Ketoprofen
  • Leucine