Background: Rapid pre-clinical evaluation of chemotherapeutic agents against brain cancers and other neurological disorders remains largely unattained due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which limits transport of most therapeutic compounds to the brain. A synthetic peptide carrier, K16ApoE, was previously developed that enabled transport of target proteins to the brain by mimicking a ligand-receptor system. The peptide carrier was found to generate transient BBB permeability, which was utilized for non-covalent delivery of cisplatin, methotrexate and other compounds to the brain. Approach: Brain delivery of the chemotherapeutics and other agents was achieved either by injecting the carrier peptide and the drugs separately or as a mixture, to the femoral vein. A modification of the method comprised injection of K16ApoE pre-mixed with cetuximab, followed by injection of a 'small-molecule' drug. Principal findings: Seven-of-seven different small molecules were successfully delivered to the brain via K16ApoE. Depending on the method, brain uptake with K16ApoE was 0.72-1.1% for cisplatin and 0.58-0.92% for methotrexate (34-50-fold and 54-92 fold greater for cisplatin and methotrexate, respectively, with K16ApoE than without). Visually intense brain-uptake of Evans Blue, Light Green SF and Crocein scarlet was also achieved. Direct intracranial injection of EB show locally restricted distribution of the dye in the brain, whereas K16ApoE-mediated intravenous injection of EB resulted in the distribution of the dye throughout the brain. Experiments with insulin suggest that ligand-receptor signaling intrinsic to the BBB provides a natural means for passive transport of some molecules across the BBB. Significance: The results suggest that the carrier peptide can non-covalently transport various chemotherapeutic agents to the brain. Thus, the method offers an avenue for pre-clinical evaluation of various small and large therapeutic molecules against brain tumors and other neurological disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)