This study quantitatively assessed the brain penetration of a potent P-glycoprotein inhibitor, SDZ PSC 833, and its effect on the blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability (PS) of an anticancer agent, vincristine. At lower doses of SDZ PSC 833 the brain penetration, defined as the brain-to-blood partition coefficient (Kp), was very low in spite of the high lipophilicity of this compound. At higher doses, however, the brain penetration of SDZ PSC 833 was markedly increased. Since the blood pharmacokinetics of SDZ PSC 833 proved to be linear in the dose range studied, these results demonstrated a dose-dependent brain passage of SDZ PSC 833. The brain passage of cyclosporin A was also found to be dose-dependent. However, the potency of SDZ PSC 833 in inhibiting the efflux mechanism at the BBB was higher than that of cyclosporin A since 10 times higher doses of cyclosporin A were required to obtain the same Kp values recorded for SDZ PSC 833. Moreover, the coadministration of SDZ PSC 833 increased the brain penetration of cyclosporin A, whereas the latter did not modify that of SDZ PSC 833. The increase in SDZ PSC 833 and vincristine PS values observed at high blood levels of SDZ PSC 833 are consistent with the hypothesis of a saturation of the P-glycoprotein pump present at the BBB. The involvement of P-glycoprotein in the brain passage of SDZ PSC 833 could be of great significance for clinical application of the drug in the treatment of brain cancers when it is given in combination with anticancer agents.