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Predicting Efflux Ratios and Blood-Brain Barrier Penetration from Chemical Structure: Combining Passive Permeability with Active Efflux by P-Glycoprotein

by Elena Dolghih and Matthew P. Jacobson

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.

December 2, 2012
ACS Chemical Neuroscience
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