The putative proton-coupled organic cation antiporter is involved in uptake of triptans into human brain capillary endothelial cells

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Triptans are anti-migraine drugs with a potential central site of action. However, it is not known to what extent triptans cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB). The aim of this study was therefore to determine if triptans pass the brain capillary endothelium and investigate the possible underlying mechanisms with focus on the involvement of the putative proton-coupled organic cation (H+/OC) antiporter. Additionally, we evaluated whether triptans interacted with the efflux transporter, P-glycoprotein (P-gp).

We investigated the cellular uptake characteristics of the prototypical H+/OC antiporter substrates, pyrilamine and oxycodone, and seven different triptans in the human brain microvascular endothelial cell line, hCMEC/D3. Triptan interactions with P-gp were studied using the IPEC-J2 MDR1 cell line. Lastly, in vivo neuropharmacokinetic assessment of the unbound brain-to-plasma disposition of eletriptan was conducted in wild type and mdr1a/1b knockout mice.

We demonstrated that most triptans were able to inhibit uptake of the H+/OC antiporter substrate, pyrilamine, with eletriptan emerging as the strongest inhibitor. Eletriptan, almotriptan, and sumatriptan exhibited a pH-dependent uptake into hCMEC/D3 cells. Eletriptan demonstrated saturable uptake kinetics with an apparent Km of 89 ± 38 µM and a Jmax of 2.2 ± 0.7 nmol·min−1·mg protein−1 (n = 3). Bidirectional transport experiments across IPEC-J2 MDR1 monolayers showed that eletriptan is transported by P-gp, thus indicating that eletriptan is both a substrate of the H+/OC antiporter and P-gp. This was further confirmed in vivo, where the unbound brain-to-unbound plasma concentration ratio (Kp,uu) was 0.04 in wild type mice while the ratio rose to 1.32 in mdr1a/1b knockout mice.

We have demonstrated that the triptan family of compounds possesses affinity for the H+/OC antiporter proposing that the putative H+/OC antiporter plays a role in the BBB transport of triptans, particularly eletriptan. Our in vivo studies indicate that eletriptan is subjected to simultaneous brain uptake and efflux, possibly facilitated by the putative H+/OC antiporter and P-gp, respectively. Our findings offer novel insights into the potential central site of action involved in migraine treatment with triptans and highlight the significance of potential transporter related drug-drug interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
JournalFluids and Barriers of the CNS
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2024

ID: 391162132