Pluronic P85 enhances the delivery of digoxin to the brain: In vitro and in vivo studies

Elena V. Batrakova, Donald W. Miller, Shu Li, Valery Yu Alakhov, Alexander V. Kabanov, William F. Elmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier is limited by several mechanisms. One important mechanism is drug efflux, mediated by several transport proteins, including P-glycoprotein. The goal of this work was to examine the effect of a novel drug delivery system, Pluronic block copolymer P85, on P-glycoprotein-mediated efflux from the brain using in vitro and in vivo methods. The hypothesis was that specific Pluronic copolymer systems enhance drug delivery to the central nervous system through the inhibition of P-glycoprotein. The effect of P85 on the cellular accumulation and transport of digoxin, a model P-glycoprotein substrate, was examined in porcine kidney epithelial cells (LLC-PK1) transfected with the human MDR1 gene. The effect of P85 on the directional flux across an in vitro BBB was also characterized. In vivo brain distribution studies were accomplished using wild-type and P-glycoprotein knockout mice. Pluronic increased the cellular accumulation of digoxin 3-fold in LLC-PK1 cells and 5-fold in the LLC-PK1-MDR1 transfected cells. Similar effects were observed for a prototypical P-glycoprotein substrate rhodamine-123. P85 treatment decreased the basolateral-to-apical and increased the apicalto-basolateral digoxin flux across LLC-PK1-MDR1 cell monolayers, and analogous results were observed with the in vitro BBB monolayers. The coadministration of 1% P85 with radio-labeled digoxin in wild-type mice increased the brain penetration of digoxin 3-fold and the digoxin level in the P85-treated wild-type mice was similar to that observed in the P-glycoprotein-deficient animals. These data indicate that Pluronic P85 can enhance the delivery of digoxin to the brain through the inhibition of the P-glycoprotein-mediated efflux mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


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