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Acyclovir is effective in treating herpes simplex virus infections of the central nervous system. The purpose of this study was to investigate the interactions between acyclovir and the efflux pumps P-glycoprotein (P-gp), breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp), multidrug resistance protein 2 (Mrp2), and organic anion transporter 3 (Oat3) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Acyclovir concentrations in the blood and brain were evaluated by microdialysis and high-performance liquid chromatography. Acyclovir pharmacokinetic parameters, including the area under the unbound blood concentration-time curve (AUCu,blood), the area under the unbound brain concentration-time curve (AUCu,brain), and the ratio of AUCu,brain to AUCu,blood (Kp.uu.brain), were evaluated in the presence and absence of elacridar (P-gp/Bcrp inhibitor, 7.5 mg/kg), tariquidar (P-gp/Bcrp inhibitor, 7.5 mg/kg), MK571 (Mrp2 inhibitor, 7.5 mg/kg), cyclosporine (P-gp/Bcrp/Mrp2 inhibitor, 25 mg/kg), and probenecid (Oat3 inhibitor, 50 mg/kg). The average AUCu,blood, AUCu,brain, and Kp.uu.brain in rats who received acyclovir (25 mg/kg, intravenous) alone were 1377.7 min · μg/ml, 435.4 min · μg/ml, and 31.6%, respectively. Probenecid drastically increased the AUCu,blood of acyclovir 1.73-fold, whereas coadministration with elacridar, tariquidar, MK571, and cyclosporine did not alter the blood pharmacokinetic parameters of acyclovir. Elacridar, tariquidar, MK571, cyclosporine, and probenecid significantly increased the AUCu,brain of acyclovir 1.51-, 1.54-, 1.47-, 1.95-, and 2.34-fold, respectively. Additionally, the Kp.uu.brain of acyclovir markedly increased 1.48-, 1.63-, 1.39-, 1.90-, and 1.35-fold following elacridar, tariquidar, MK571, cyclosporine, and probenecid administration, respectively. The present study demonstrated that P-gp, Bcrp, Mrp2, and Oat3 inhibition increased the penetration of acyclovir across the BBB, supporting the hypothesis that these efflux pumps restrict the distribution of acyclovir in the brain. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.


Yuheng Shan, Yuying Cen, Yanjin Zhang, Ruishu Tan, Jiahua Zhao, Zhiyong Nie, Jiatang Zhang, Shengyuan Yu. Acyclovir Brain Disposition: Interactions with P-gp, Bcrp, Mrp2, and Oat3 at the Blood-Brain Barrier. European journal of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics. 2022 Mar;47(2):279-289

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PMID: 35112329

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