Modulation of doxorubicin concentration by cyclosporin A in brain and testicular barrier tissues expressing P-glycoprotein in rats

J Neurooncol. 1998 Mar;37(1):45-54. doi: 10.1023/a:1005900908540.


P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is an inducible transmembrane protein that functions as an ATP-dependent efflux pump. Pgp is normally expressed in two types of cells: specialized epithelial cells with secretory/excretory functions (e.g., proximal renal tubules) and specialized endothelial cells (e.g., the capillary endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier). In normal tissues, Pgp could exert a cytoprotective effect by facilitating excretion of drugs. It follows that inhibition of Pgp would alter the pharmacokinetics of drugs, like doxorubicin, in cells that express Pgp. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not inhibition of Pgp by cyclosporin A (CsA) facilitated the transport of certain drugs across the blood tissue barriers of the brain and testes (barriers tissues expressing Pgp). 120 retired male breeder CD Fisher rats were randomly assigned to groups of 4 rats each. They were given either CsA, CsA vehicle, or saline followed by doxorubicin (Dox), cisplatin (CDDP), Evan's blue (EB), sodium fluorescein (NaF), or horseradish peroxidase (HRP). There was a CsA dose dependent increase in the tissue concentration of doxorubicin in brain and testes, but platinum (Pt) concentrations, derived from CDDP, were unaffected. Unlike CDDP, Dox, can be effluxed by Pgp. These increases in Dox concentrations were not due to altered vascular permeability as a result of CsA treatment as determined by lack of EB. NaF, or HRP in brain parenchyma. Modulation of Pgp function may prove to be useful for improving chemotherapy efficacy for patients with malignancies affecting tissues with blood-tissue barriers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / drug effects*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Cyclosporine / administration & dosage
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology*
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Evans Blue / pharmacokinetics
  • Fluorescein / pharmacokinetics
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / pharmacokinetics
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Platinum / pharmacokinetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Testis / drug effects
  • Testis / metabolism*
  • Tissue Distribution / drug effects


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Evans Blue
  • Platinum
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclosporine
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorescein