Mechanisms of regulation of P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein at the blood-brain barrier : focus on the role of morphine, and P-glycoprotein activation

Abstract : The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the main interface of molecular exchange between the bloodstream and the central nervous system (CNS), where it plays an essential role on the control over the bi-directional passage of endogenous and exogenous compounds. At the BBB, P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) are the most important ABC drug efflux transporters preventing the entry into the brain of toxic compounds, drugs and xenobiotics circulating in the blood. There is increasing interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the modulation of P-gp and BCRP expression and function in order to control CNS accumulation of neurotoxicants and to overcome pharmacoresistance phenomena. Recent studies showed that morphine, itself a substrate of P-gp, is implicated in the up-regulation of P-gp expression, which may contribute to its poor brain penetration and tolerance. However, it was unknown the mechanism underlying P-gp induction by morphine and its role on BCRP expression. Rats were used as an animal model for the study of the amplitude and the kinetics of the modulation of P-gp and Bcrp expressions at the BBB following a subchronic morphine treatment, in an escalating morphine dose regimen. Freshly isolated rat brain microvessels were used as BBB model to study P-gp and Bcrp contents following the in vivo treatment, while the hCMEC/D3 cell line was occasionally used for complementary studies. Our results demonstrated that a 5-day subchronic morphine regimen up-regulated both P-gp and Bcrp 12 to 24h after the last dose of morphine, which was not registered at earlier time-points of animal sacrifice, nor with a single dose of morphine. The animal treatment with a glutamatergic NMDA receptor antagonist, or a COX-2 inhibitor abolished the subchronic morphine-induced P-gp and Bcrp protein up-regulation, 24h after the last dose of morphine, suggesting that both are implicated in the morphine-dependent P-gp and Bcrp up-regulation. Since the registered up-regulation only occurred from 12h after the last dose of morphine-onwards, we investigated whether it was a direct effect of continued exposure to morphine, or rather a consequence of the morphine withdrawal developed after discontinuation of treatment. Rats were treated either with a constant morphine infusion (5 days), or two chronic morphine regimens where withdrawal was precipitated by naloxone administration: an escalating dose (5 days) or a constant dose morphine regimen followed by a withdrawal period (2 days) and resume of the treatment for 3 additional days. Continuous i.v. morphine did not change P-gp and Bcrp levels in rat brain microvessels, it does not have a direct consequence on the cascade of regulation of these transporters at the BBB. Naloxone-precipitated withdrawal after escalating or chronic morphine dose regimen increased Mdr1a and Bcrp mRNA levels, but protein expression and activity remained unchanged after naloxone administration. This latter result discrepancy may be due to posttranslational regulation or naloxone action at non-opioid receptors hampering P-gp and Bcrp up-regulation. Subsequently, we did a large screening of the expression of several neurotransmitter receptors at the rat BBB, many of them implicated in the inflammatory cell-cell signaling, and which may have a role in the modulation of these ABC transporters. Also, we compared two different approaches of isolation of rat brain microvessels, mechanical dissection and enzymatic digestion, to assess which yield the purest microvessel fraction for the BBB study. The enzymatic digestion provided the highest enrichment of endothelial cells and pericytes, and the least contamination with astrocyte and neuron markers. (...)
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Catarina Alexandra da Silva Chaves. Mechanisms of regulation of P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein at the blood-brain barrier : focus on the role of morphine, and P-glycoprotein activation. Human health and pathology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité; Universidade do Porto, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015USPCB162⟩. ⟨tel-01721983⟩

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