Natural flavonoids silymarin and quercetin improve the brain distribution of co-administered P-gp substrate drugs

P-glycoprotein (P-gp), a well known efflux transporter in the blood brain barrier inhibits the uptake of substrate drugs into brain. The main aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of natural product based P-gp inhibitors on brain penetration of various CNS drugs which are P-gp substrates.

In this study, we have evaluated the inhibitory effects of natural bioflavonoids (quercetin and silymarin) on P-gp by using digoxin and quinidine as model P-gp model substrate drugs. In vitro inhibitory effects were evaluated in Caco-2 cell lines using digoxin as a model drug and in vivo P-gp inhibiting effect was evaluated in mice model using quinidine as model drug.

The accumulation and bidirectional transport of digoxin in Caco-2 cells was determined in presence and absence of quercetin and silymarin. Elacridar was used as standard P-gp inhibitor and used to compare the inhibitory effects of test compounds.

The apical to basolateral transport of digoxin was increased where as basolateral to apical transport of digoxin was decreased in concentration dependent manner in the presence of elacridar, quercetin and silymarin. After intravenous administration of P-gp inhibitors, brain levels of quinidine were estimated using LC-MS method.

Increased brain uptake was observed with quercetin (2.5-fold) and silymarin (3.5-fold). Though the brain penetration potential of P-gp substrates was lower than that observed in elacridar, both quercetin and silymarin improved plasma quinidine levels.

Caco-2 permeability studies and brain uptake indicate that both quercetin and silymarin can inhibit P-gp mediated efflux of drug into brain. Our results suggest that both silymarin and quercetin could potentially increase the brain distribution of co-administered drugs that are P-gp substrates.

Published on: 2017-03-25

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