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(Section B: Integrated Function of Drug Transporters In Vivo) Drug Transport at the Blood-Brain Barrier and the Choroid Plexus

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-CSF barrier (BCSFB) represent the main interfaces between the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral circulation. Drug exposure to the CNS is dependent on a variety of factors, including the physical barrier presented by the BBB and the BCSFB and the affinity of the substrate for specific transport systems located at both of these interfaces. It is the aggregate effect of these factors that ultimately determines the total CNS exposure, and thus pharmacological efficacy, of a drug or drug candidate. This review discusses the anatomical and biochemical barriers presented to solute access to the CNS. In particular, the important role played by various efflux transporters in the overall barrier function is considered in detail, as current literature suggests that efflux transport likely represents a key determinant of overall CNS exposure for many substrates. Finally, it is important to consider not only the net delivery of the agent to the CNS, but also the ability of the agent to access the relevant target site within the CNS. Potential approaches to increasing both net CNS and target-site exposure, when such exposure is dictated by efflux transport, are considered.
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Keywords: blood-brain barrier; blood-csf barrier; central nervous system; efflux transporters; multidrug resistance associated protein; p-glycoprotein

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Professor and Chair Division of Drug Delivery and Disposition School of Pharmacy University of North Carolina Kerr Hall CB no.7360 Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7360.

Publication date: February 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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