P-glycoprotein Function in the Rodent Brain Displays a Daily Rhythm, a Quantitative In Vivo PET Study

Heli Savolainen, Peter Meerlo, Philip H. Elsinga, Albert D. Windhorst, Rudi A. J. O. Dierckx, Nicola A. Colabufo, Aren van Waarde, Gert Luurtsema

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The blood-brain barrier (BBB) contributes to brain homeostasis by protecting the brain from harmful compounds. P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is one of the major efflux transporters at the BBB. In the present study, we assessed whether (1) P-gp function in the brain is constant or fluctuates across the day and (2) if it is affected by sleep deprivation. Four groups of rats were PET scanned with a radiolabeled P-gp substrate [18F]MC225, each at a different moment of the 12-h light-dark cycle to study diurnal variations: early sleep phase (ZT3), late sleep phase (ZT9), early active phase (ZT15), and late active phase (ZT21). In two additional groups, controls were allowed to sleep normally while experimental animals were sleep-deprived for 10 h in a slowly rotating drum during the sleep phase. Kinetic modeling with a one-tissue compartment model fit resulted for all brain regions in 1.2–1.8-fold higher distribution volumes (V T ) at ZT15 than at other time points. V T -values at ZT3, ZT9, and ZT21 were not significantly different from each other. Regional tracer distribution volumes in controls and sleep-deprived animals were also not significantly different. Our results indicate that P-gp function in rats displays a daily rhythm with reduced function at the beginning of the active phase. This rhythm is not dependent on sleep since acute sleep deprivation had no effect. Knowing the diurnal variation of P-gp function could be important for the design of PET studies and for choosing the correct administration time for P-gp-dependent drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1524-1531
JournalAAPS journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • [F-18]MC225
  • circadian rhythm
  • efflux transporter
  • pharmacokinetic modeling
  • sleep deprivation

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