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Predicting efflux ratios and blood-brain barrier penetration from chemical structure: combining passive permeability with active efflux by p-glycoprotein.

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2013 Feb 20;4(2):361-7

Authors: Dolghih E, Jacobson MP


In order to reach their pharmacologic targets, successful central nervous system (CNS) drug candidates have to cross a complex protective barrier separating brain from the blood. Being able to predict a priori which molecules can successfully penetrate this barrier could be of significant value in CNS drug discovery. Herein we report a new computational approach that combines two mechanism-based models, for passive permeation and for active efflux by P-glycoprotein, to provide insight into the multiparameter optimization problem of designing small molecules able to access the CNS. Our results indicate that this approach is capable of distinguishing compounds with high/low efflux ratios as well as CNS+/CNS- compounds and provides advantage over estimating P-glycoprotein efflux or passive permeability alone when trying to predict these emergent properties. We also demonstrate that this method could be useful for rank-ordering chemically similar compounds and that it can provide detailed mechanistic insight into the relationship between chemical structure and efflux ratios and/or CNS penetration, offering guidance as to how compounds could be modified to improve their access into the brain.

PMID: 23421687 [PubMed - in process]