Pathophysiological impairment of the neurovascular unit, including the integrity and dynamics of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), has been denoted both a cause and consequence of neurodegenerative diseases. Pathological impact on BBB drug delivery has also been debated. The aim of the present study was to investigate BBB drug transport, by determining the unbound brain-to-plasma concentration ratio (Kp,uu,brain), in aged AβPP-transgenic mice, α-synuclein transgenic mice, and wild type mice.
Mice were dosed with a cassette of five compounds, including digoxin, levofloxacin (1 mg/kg, s.c.), paliperidone, oxycodone, and diazepam (0.25 mg/kg, s.c.). Brain and blood were collected at 0.5, 1, or 3 h after dosage. Drug concentrations were measured using LC-MS/MS. The total brain-to-plasma concentration ratio was calculated and equilibrium dialysis was used to determine the fraction of unbound drug in brain and plasma for all compounds. Together, these three measures were used to determine the Kp,uu,brain value.
Despite Aβ or α-synuclein pathology in the current animal models, no difference was observed in the extent of drug transport across the BBB compared to wild type animals for any of the compounds investigated. Hence, the present study shows that the concept of a leaking barrier within neurodegenerative conditions has to be interpreted with caution when estimating drug transport into the brain. The capability of the highly dynamic BBB to regulate brain drug exposure still seems to be intact despite the presence of pathology.