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1.  Anesthetic management of patients undergoing bariatric surgery: two year experience in a single institution in Switzerland 
BMC Anesthesiology  2014;14(1):125.
In the field of anesthesia for bariatric surgery, a wide variety of recommendations exist, but a general consensus on the perioperative management of such patients is missing. We outline the perioperative experiences that we gained in the first two years after introducing a bariatric program.
The perioperative approach was established together with all relevant disciplines. Pertinent topics for the anesthesiologists were; successful airway management, indications for more invasive monitoring, and the planning of the postoperative period and deposition. This retrospective analysis was approved by the local ethics committee. Data are mean [SD].
182 bariatric surgical procedures were performed (147 gastric bypass procedures (GBP; 146 (99.3%) performed laparascopically). GBP patients were 43 [10] years old, 78% female, BMI 45 [7] kg/m2, 73% ASA physical status of 2. 42 patients (28.6%) presented with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. 117 GBP (79.6%) patients were intubated conventionally by direct laryngoscopy (one converted to fiber-optic intubation, one aspiration of gastric contents). 32 patients (21.8%) required an arterial line, 10 patients (6.8%) a central venous line. Induction lasted 25 [16] min, the procedure itself 138 [42] min. No blood products were required. Two patients (1.4%) presented with hypothermia (<35°C) at the end of their case. The emergence period lasted 17 [9] min. Postoperatively, 32 patients (21.8%) were transferred to the ICU (one ventilated). The other patients spent 4.1 [0.7] h in the post anesthesia care unit. 15 patients (10.2%) required take backs for surgical revision (two laparotomies).
The physiology and anatomy of bariatric patients demand a tailored approach from both the anesthesiologist and the perioperative team. The interaction of a multi-disciplinary team is key to achieving good outcomes and a low rate of complications.
Trial registration
DRKS00005437 (date of registration 16th December 2013)
PMCID: PMC4277841  PMID: 25544832
Anesthesia; Complications; Bariatric surgery; Obesity
2.  Safety and effectiveness of a Patient Blood Management (PBM) program in surgical patients - the study design for a multi-centre prospective epidemiologic non-inferiority trial 
Preoperative and hospital-acquired anaemia is common among surgical patients. It is associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality and a strong risk factor for allogeneic blood transfusions with their own inherent risks. Patient Blood Management (PBM) concepts aim to increase and preserve autologous erythrocyte volume and to optimise haemotherapy. They thus have great potential to benefit patients.
This prospective, multi-centre clinical trial tests the hypothesis that PBM programs are safe and effective in the care of adult surgical patients. Primary outcome is a composite endpoint of adverse events and in-hospital mortality.
This trial will determine whether the implementation of a PBM program is safe and effective in terms of clinical outcome compared to a pre-implementation cohort. This trial is registered at (NCT01820949).
PMCID: PMC4261241
Patient Blood Management; Red Blood Cell Transfusion Practice, Patient Safety; Anaemia; Clinical Outcome; Perioperative Care
3.  In vivo P-glycoprotein function before and after epilepsy surgery 
Neurology  2014;83(15):1326-1331.
To study the functional activity of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) at the blood-brain barrier of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy using (R)-[11C]verapamil (VPM)-PET before and after temporal lobe surgery to assess whether postoperative changes in seizure frequency and antiepileptic drug load are associated with changes in Pgp function.
Seven patients with drug-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy underwent VPM-PET scans pre- and postsurgery. Patients were followed up for a median of 6 years (range 4–7) after surgery. Pgp immunoreactivity in surgically resected hippocampal specimens was determined with immunohistochemistry.
Optimal surgical outcome, defined as seizure freedom and withdrawal of antiepileptic drugs, was associated with higher temporal lobe Pgp function before surgery, higher Pgp-positive staining in surgically resected hippocampal specimens, and reduction in global Pgp function postoperatively, compared with nonoptimal surgery outcome.
The data from our pilot study suggest that Pgp overactivity in epilepsy is dynamic, and complete seizure control and elimination of antiepileptic medication is associated with reversal of overactivity, although these findings will require confirmation in a larger patient cohort.
PMCID: PMC4189097  PMID: 25186858
4.  Interaction of 11C-Tariquidar and 11C-Elacridar with P-glycoprotein and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein at the Human Blood-Brain Barrier 
The adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporters P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) are 2 major gatekeepers at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) which restrict brain distribution of several clinically used drugs. In this study we investigated the suitability of the radiolabeled Pgp/BCRP inhibitors 11C-tariquidar and 11C-elacridar to assess Pgp density in human brain with PET.
Healthy subjects underwent a first PET scan of 120 min duration with either 11C-tariquidar (n = 6) or 11C-elacridar (n = 5) followed by a second PET scan of 60 min duration with (R)-11C-verapamil. During scan 1 (at 60 min after radiotracer injection) unlabeled tariquidar (3 mg/kg) was intravenously administered. Data was analyzed using 1-tissue 2-rate-constant (1T2K) and 2-tissue 4-rate-constant (2T4K) compartment models using either metabolite-corrected or uncorrected arterial input functions.
Following injection of 11C-tariquidar or 11C-elacridar, brain PET signal corrected for radioactivity in vasculature was very low (~0.1 standardized uptake value) with slow washout. In response to tariquidar injection, a moderate, but statistically significant rise in brain PET signal was observed for 11C-tariquidar (+27 ± 15%, P = 0.014, paired t-test) and 11C-elacridar (+21 ± 15%, P = 0.014) without changes in plasma activity concentrations. Low levels of radiolabeled metabolites (<25%) were detected in plasma at time points up to 60 min after injection of 11C-tariquidar or 11C-elacridar. The 2T4K model provided better data fits than the 1T2K model. Model outcome parameters were similar when metabolite-corrected or uncorrected input functions were used. There was no significant correlation between distribution volumes (VT) of 11C-tariquidar or 11C-elacridar and VTs of (R)-11C-verapamil in different brain regions.
The in vivo behavior of 11C-tariquidar and 11C-elacridar was consistent with that of dual Pgp/BCRP substrates. Both tracers were unable to visualize cerebral Pgp density, which was most likely related to insufficiently high binding affinities in relation to the very low density of Pgp in human brain (~1.3 nM). Despite their inability to visualize Pgp density, 11C-tariquidar and 11C-elacridar may find use as a new class of radiotracers to study the interplay of Pgp and BCRP at the human BBB in limiting brain uptake of dual substrates.
PMCID: PMC3882137  PMID: 23833270
P-glycoprotein; breast cancer resistance protein; blood-brain barrier; 11C-tariquidar; 11C-elacridar
5.  Open source libraries and frameworks for mass spectrometry based proteomics: A developer's perspective☆ 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2014;1844(1):63-76.
Data processing, management and visualization are central and critical components of a state of the art high-throughput mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics experiment, and are often some of the most time-consuming steps, especially for labs without much bioinformatics support. The growing interest in the field of proteomics has triggered an increase in the development of new software libraries, including freely available and open-source software. From database search analysis to post-processing of the identification results, even though the objectives of these libraries and packages can vary significantly, they usually share a number of features. Common use cases include the handling of protein and peptide sequences, the parsing of results from various proteomics search engines output files, and the visualization of MS-related information (including mass spectra and chromatograms). In this review, we provide an overview of the existing software libraries, open-source frameworks and also, we give information on some of the freely available applications which make use of them. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Computational Proteomics in the Post-Identification Era. Guest Editors: Martin Eisenacher and Christian Stephan.
•A review of existing open-source software for computational proteomics.•Available software for each step in a typical MS experiment is described.•OpenMS, TPP, compomics, ProteoWizard, JPL, PRIDE toolsuite are covered in detail.•Different programming languages are considered (Java, Perl, C++ or Python).
PMCID: PMC3898926  PMID: 23467006
AMT, Accurate Mass Tag; ATAQS, Automated and Targeted Analysis with Quantitative SRM; CV, Controlled Vocabulary; DAO, Data Access Object; EBI, European Bioinformatics Institute; emPAI, exponentially modified Protein Abundance Index; FDR, False Discovery Rate; (HUPO)-PSI, (Human Proteome Organization) — Proteomics Standards Initiative; GUI, Graphical User Interface; ICAT, Isotope-Coded Affinity Tags; ICPL, Isotope-Coded Protein Label; IPTL, Isobaric Peptide Termini Labeling; ISB, Institute for Systems Biology; iTRAQ, Isobaric Tag for Relative and Absolute Quantitation; JPL, Java Proteomic Library; LC-MS, Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry; LIMS, Laboratory Information Management System; MGF, Mascot Generic Format; MIAPE, Minimum Information About a Proteomics Experiment; MS, Mass Spectrometry; SILAC, Stable Isotope Labeling by Amino acids in Cell culture; PASSEL, PeptideAtlas SRM Experiment Library; PRIDE, PRoteomics IDEntifications (database); PSM, Peptide Spectrum Match; PTM, Post-Translational Modifications; RT, Retention Time; SRM, Selected Reaction Monitoring; TMT, Tandem Mass Tag; TOPP, The OpenMS Proteomics Pipeline; TPP, Trans-Proteomic Pipeline; Proteomics; Databases; Bioinformatics; Software libraries; Application programming interface; Open source software
6.  Biotic, abiotic and management controls on methanol exchange above a temperate mountain grassland 
Methanol (CH3OH) fluxes were quantified above a managed temperate mountain grassland in the Stubai Valley (Tyrol, Austria) during the growing seasons 2008 and 2009. Half-hourly methanol fluxes were calculated by means of the virtual disjunct eddy covariance (vDEC) method using 3-dimensional wind data from a sonic anemometer and methanol volume mixing ratios measured with a proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometer (PTR-MS). During (undisturbed) mature and growing phases methanol fluxes exhibited a clear diurnal cycle with close-to-zero fluxes during nighttime and emissions, up to 10 nmol m−2 s−1, which followed the diurnal course of radiation and air temperature. Management events were found to represent the largest perturbations of methanol exchange at the studied grassland ecosystem: Peak emissions of 144.5 nmol m−2 s−1 were found during/after cutting of the meadow reflecting the wounding of the plant material and subsequent depletion of the leaf internal aqueous methanol pools. After the application of organic fertilizer, elevated methanol emissions of up to 26.7 nmol m−2 s−1 were observed, likely reflecting enhanced microbial activity associated with the applied manure. Simple and multiple linear regression analyses revealed air temperature and radiation as the dominant abiotic controls, jointly explaining 47 % and 70 % of the variability in half-hourly and daily methanol fluxes. In contrast to published leaf-level laboratory studies, the surface conductance and the daily change in the amount of green plant area, used as ecosystem-scale proxies for stomatal conductance and growth, respectively, were found to exert only minor biotic controls on methanol exchange.
PMCID: PMC3859319  PMID: 24349901
disjunct eddy covariance; flux; methanol; volatile organic compounds; management; grassland; PTR-MS
7.  Lipid-Induced Insulin Resistance Is Not Mediated by Impaired Transcapillary Transport of Insulin and Glucose in Humans 
Diabetes  2012;61(12):3176-3180.
Increased lipid availability reduces insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in skeletal muscle, which is generally explained by fatty acid–mediated inhibition of insulin signaling. It remains unclear whether lipids also impair transcapillary transport of insulin and glucose, which could become rate controlling for glucose disposal. We hypothesized that lipid-induced insulin resistance is induced by inhibiting myocellular glucose uptake and not by interfering with the delivery of insulin or glucose. We measured changes in interstitial glucose and insulin in skeletal muscle of healthy volunteers during intravenous administration of triglycerides plus heparin or glycerol during physiologic and supraphysiologic hyperinsulinemia, by combining microdialysis with oral glucose tolerance tests and euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps. Lipid infusion reduced insulin-stimulated glucose disposal by ∼70% (P < 0.05) during clamps and dynamic insulin sensitivity by ∼12% (P < 0.05) during oral glucose loading. Dialysate insulin and glucose levels were unchanged or even transiently higher (P < 0.05) during lipid than during glycerol infusion, whereas regional blood flow remained unchanged. These results demonstrate that short-term elevation of free fatty acids (FFAs) induces insulin resistance, which in skeletal muscle occurs primarily at the cellular level, without impairment of local perfusion or transcapillary transport of insulin and glucose. Thus, vascular effects of FFAs are not rate controlling for muscle insulin-stimulated glucose disposal.
PMCID: PMC3501866  PMID: 22891212
8.  A novel PET protocol for visualization of breast cancer resistance protein function at the blood–brain barrier 
Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is the most abundant multidrug efflux transporter at the human blood–brain barrier (BBB), restricting brain distribution of various drugs. In this study, we developed a positron emission tomography (PET) protocol to visualize Bcrp function at the murine BBB, based on the dual P-glycoprotein (P-gp)/Bcrp substrate radiotracer [11C]tariquidar in combination with the Bcrp inhibitor Ko143. To eliminate the contribution of P-gp efflux to [11C]tariquidar brain distribution, we studied mice in which P-gp was genetically knocked out (Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice) or chemically knocked out by pretreatment with cold tariquidar. We found that [11C]tariquidar brain uptake increased dose dependently after administration of escalating doses of Ko143, both in Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice and in tariquidar pretreated wild-type mice. After 15 mg/kg Ko143, the maximum increase in [11C]tariquidar brain uptake relative to baseline scans was 6.3-fold in Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice with a half-maximum effect dose of 4.98 mg/kg and 3.6-fold in tariquidar (8 mg/kg) pretreated wild-type mice, suggesting that the presented protocol is sensitive to visualize a range of different functional Bcrp activities at the murine BBB. We expect that this protocol can be translated to the clinic, because tariquidar can be safely administered to humans at doses that completely inhibit cerebral P-gp.
PMCID: PMC3493998  PMID: 22828996
blood–brain barrier; breast cancer resistance protein; Ko143; P-glycoprotein; positron emission tomography; [11C]tariquidar
9.  Quantum Google in a Complex Network 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2773.
We investigate the behaviour of the recently proposed Quantum PageRank algorithm, in large complex networks. We find that the algorithm is able to univocally reveal the underlying topology of the network and to identify and order the most relevant nodes. Furthermore, it is capable to clearly highlight the structure of secondary hubs and to resolve the degeneracy in importance of the low lying part of the list of rankings. The quantum algorithm displays an increased stability with respect to a variation of the damping parameter, present in the Google algorithm, and a more clearly pronounced power-law behaviour in the distribution of importance, as compared to the classical algorithm. We test the performance and confirm the listed features by applying it to real world examples from the WWW. Finally, we raise and partially address whether the increased sensitivity of the quantum algorithm persists under coordinated attacks in scale-free and random networks.
PMCID: PMC3790229  PMID: 24091980
10.  Genetically Engineered Cancer Models, But Not Xenografts, Faithfully Predict Anticancer Drug Exposure in Melanoma Tumors 
The Oncologist  2012;17(10):1303-1316.
The plasma and tumor dispositions of a commonly used antimelanoma agent, carboplatin, were evaluated in patients with cutaneous melanoma and compared with four different murine melanoma models (one genetically engineered mouse model, one human cell line xenograft, and two orthotopic syngeneic transplant models). The tumor pharmacokinetics of carboplatin in the a genetically engineered mouse model most closely resembled the tumor disposition in patients with melanoma.
Rodent studies are a vital step in the development of novel anticancer therapeutics and are used in pharmacokinetic (PK), toxicology, and efficacy studies. Traditionally, anticancer drug development has relied on xenograft implantation of human cancer cell lines in immunocompromised mice for efficacy screening of a candidate compound. The usefulness of xenograft models for efficacy testing, however, has been questioned, whereas genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) and orthotopic syngeneic transplants (OSTs) may offer some advantages for efficacy assessment. A critical factor influencing the predictability of rodent tumor models is drug PKs, but a comprehensive comparison of plasma and tumor PK parameters among xenograft models, OSTs, GEMMs, and human patients has not been performed.
In this work, we evaluated the plasma and tumor dispositions of an antimelanoma agent, carboplatin, in patients with cutaneous melanoma compared with four different murine melanoma models (one GEMM, one human cell line xenograft, and two OSTs).
Using microdialysis to sample carboplatin tumor disposition, we found that OSTs and xenografts were poor predictors of drug exposure in human tumors, whereas the GEMM model exhibited PK parameters similar to those seen in human tumors.
The tumor PKs of carboplatin in a GEMM of melanoma more closely resembles the tumor disposition in patients with melanoma than transplanted tumor models. GEMMs show promise in becoming an improved prediction model for intratumoral PKs and response in patients with solid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3481896  PMID: 22993143
GEMM; Microdialysis; Carboplatin pharmacokinetics; Mouse tumor models; Melanoma models; Genetically engineered mouse models
11.  (R)-[11C]verapamil is selectively transported by murine and human P-glycoprotein at the blood–brain barrier, and not by MRP1 and BCRP 
Nuclear Medicine and Biology  2013;40(7):873-878.
Positron emission tomography (PET) with [11C]verapamil, either in racemic form or in form of the (R)-enantiomer, has been used to measure the functional activity of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) at the blood–brain barrier (BBB). There is some evidence in literature that verapamil inhibits two other ABC transporters expressed at the BBB, i.e. multidrug resistance protein 1 (MRP1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP). However, previous data were obtained with micromolar concentrations of verapamil and do not necessarily reflect the transporter selectivity of verapamil at nanomolar concentrations, which are relevant for PET experiments. The aim of this study was to assess the selectivity of verapamil, in nanomolar concentrations, for Pgp over MRP1 and BCRP.
Concentration equilibrium transport assays were performed with [3H]verapamil (5 nM) in cell lines expressing murine or human Pgp, human MRP1, and murine Bcrp1 or human BCRP. Paired PET scans were performed with (R)-[11C]verapamil in female FVB/N (wild-type), Mrp1(−/−), Mdr1a/b(−/−), Bcrp1(−/−) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice, before and after Pgp inhibition with 15 mg/kg tariquidar.
In vitro transport experiments exclusively showed directed transport of [3H]verapamil in Mdr1a- and MDR1-overexpressing cells which could be inhibited by tariquidar (0.5 μM). In PET scans acquired before tariquidar administration, brain-to-blood ratio (Kb,brain) of (R)-[11C]verapamil was low in wild-type (1.3 ± 0.1), Mrp1(−/−) (1.4 ± 0.1) and Bcrp1(−/−) mice (1.8 ± 0.1) and high in Mdr1a/b(−/−) (6.9 ± 0.8) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice (7.9 ± 0.5). In PET scans after tariquidar administration, Kb,brain was significantly increased in Pgp-expressing mice (wild-type: 5.0 ± 0.3-fold, Mrp1(−/−): 3.2 ± 0.6-fold, Bcrp1(−/−): 4.3 ± 0.1-fold) but not in Pgp knockout mice (Mdr1a/b(−/−) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−)).
Our combined in vitro and in vivo data demonstrate that verapamil, in nanomolar concentrations, is selectively transported by Pgp and not by MRP1 and BCRP at the BBB, which supports the use of (R)-[11C]verapamil or racemic [11C]verapamil as PET tracers of cerebral Pgp function.
PMCID: PMC3775124  PMID: 23845421
Positron emission tomography; (R)-[11C]verapamil; Blood–brain barrier; P-glycoprotein; Multidrug resistance protein 1; Breast cancer resistance protein
12.  The antiepileptic drug mephobarbital is not transported by P-glycoprotein or multidrug resistance protein 1 at the blood-brain barrier: a positron emission tomography study 
Epilepsy research  2012;100(0):93-103.
Aim of this study was to determine whether the carbon-11-labelled antiepileptic drug [11C]mephobarbital is a substrate of P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and can be used to assess Pgp function at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) with positron emission tomography (PET). We performed paired PET scans in rats, wild-type (FVB) and Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice, before and after intravenous administration of the Pgp inhibitor tariquidar (15 mg/kg). Brain-to-blood AUC0-60 ratios in rats and brain AUC0-60 values of [11C]mephobarbital in wild-type and Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice were similar in scan 1 and scan 2, respectively, suggesting that in vivo brain distribution of [11C]mephobarbital is not influenced by Pgp efflux. Absence of Pgp transport was confirmed in vitro by performing concentration equilibrium transport assay in cell lines transfected with MDR1 or Mdr1a. PET experiments in wild-type mice, with and without pretreatment with the multidrug resistance protein (MRP) inhibitor MK571 (20 mg/kg), and in Mrp1(−/−) mice suggested that [11C]mephobarbital is also not transported by MRPs at the murine BBB, which was also supported by in vitro transport experiments using human MRP1-transfected cells. Our results are surprising as phenobarbital, the N-desmethyl derivative of mephobarbital, has been shown to be a substrate of Pgp, which suggests that N-methylation abolishes Pgp affinity of barbiturates.
PMCID: PMC3778256  PMID: 22342565
drug resistance; epilepsy; blood-brain barrier; P-glycoprotein; PET; [11C]mephobarbital
13.  A combined accelerator mass spectrometry-positron emission tomography human microdose study with 14C- and 11C-labelled verapamil 
Clinical pharmacokinetics  2011;50(2):111-120.
Background and Objective
In microdose studies, the pharmacokinetic (PK) profile of a drug in blood after administration of a dose up to 100 μg is measured with sensitive analytical techniques, such as accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). As most drugs exert their effect in tissue rather than blood, methodology is needed for extending PK analysis to different tissue compartments. In the present study, we combined, for the first time, AMS analysis with positron emission tomography (PET) in order to determine the PK profile of the model drug verapamil in plasma and brain of humans. In order to assess PK dose-linearity of verapamil, data were acquired and compared after administration of an intravenous (iv) microdose and an iv microdose dosed concomitantly with an oral therapeutic dose.
Six healthy male volunteers received an iv microdose (0.05 mg) (period 1) and an iv microdose dosed concomitantly with an oral therapeutic dose (80 mg) of verapamil (period 2) in a randomized, cross-over, two-period study design. The iv dose was a mixture of (R/S)-[14C]verapamil and (R)-[11C]verapamil and the oral dose was unlabelled racemic verapamil. Brain distribution of radioactivity was measured with PET whereas plasma PK of (R)- and (S)-verapamil was determined with AMS. PET data were analyzed by kinetic modeling to estimate the rate constants for transfer of radioactivity across the blood-brain barrier.
Most PK parameters of (R)- and (S)-verapamil as well as parameters describing exchange of radioactivity between plasma and brain (K1=0.030±0.003 and 0.031±0.005 mL·mL−1·min−1 and k2=0.099±0.006 and 0.095±0.008 min−1 for period 1 and 2, respectively) were not statistically different between the two periods although there was a trend for non-linear kinetics for the (R)-enantiomer. On the other hand, all PK parameters (except for t1/2) differed significantly between the (R)- and (S)-enantiomers for both periods. Cmax, AUC(0-24) and AUC(0-inf) were higher and CL, V and VSS were lower for the (R)- than for the (S)-enantiomer.
Combining AMS and PET microdosing allows long term PK data along with information on drug tissue distribution to be acquired in the same subjects thus making it a promising approach to maximize data output from a single clinical study.
PMCID: PMC3763674  PMID: 21142292
14.  Dependence of Brain Intravoxel Incoherent Motion Perfusion Parameters on the Cardiac Cycle 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72856.
Measurement of microvascular perfusion with Intravoxel Incoherent Motion (IVIM) MRI is gaining interest. Yet, the physiological influences on the IVIM perfusion parameters (“pseudo-diffusion” coefficient D*, perfusion fraction f, and flow related parameter fD*) remain insufficiently characterized. In this article, we hypothesize that D* and fD*, which depend on blood speed, should vary during the cardiac cycle. We extended the IVIM model to include time dependence of D* = D*(t), and demonstrate in the healthy human brain that both parameters D* and fD* are significantly larger during systole than diastole, while the diffusion coefficient D and f do not vary significantly. The results non-invasively demonstrate the pulsatility of the brain’s microvasculature.
PMCID: PMC3758329  PMID: 24023649
15.  A novel PET imaging protocol identifies seizure-induced regional overactivity of P-glycoprotein at the blood-brain barrier 
About one third of epilepsy patients are pharmacoresistant. Overexpression of P-glycoprotein and other multidrug transporters at the blood-brain barrier is thought to play an important role in drug-refractory epilepsy. Thus, quantification of regionally different P-glycoprotein activity in the brain in vivo is essential to identify P-glycoprotein overactivity as the relevant mechanism for drug-resistance in an individual patient.
Using the radiolabeled P-glycoprotein substrate (R)-[11C]verapamil and different doses of co-administered tariquidar, which is an inhibitor of P-glycoprotein, we evaluated whether small-animal positron emission tomography (PET) can quantify regional changes in transporter function in the rat brain at baseline and 48 h after a pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus. P-glycoprotein expression was additionally quantified by immunohistochemistry. To reveal putative seizure-induced changes in blood-brain barrier integrity, we performed gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance scans on a 7.0 Tesla small-animal scanner. Before P-glycoprotein modulation, brain uptake of (R)-[11C]verapamil was low in all regions investigated in control and post-status epilepticus rats. After administration of 3 mg/kg tariquidar, which inhibits P-glycoprotein only partially, we observed increased regional differentiation in brain activity uptake in post-status epilepticus versus control rats, which diminished after maximal P-glycoprotein inhibition. Regional increases in the efflux rate constant k2, but not in distribution volume VT or influx rate constant K1, correlated significantly with increases in P-glycoprotein expression measured by immunohistochemistry.
This imaging protocol proves to be suitable to detect seizure-induced regional changes in P-glycoprotein activity and is readily applicable to humans, with the aim to detect relevant mechanisms of pharmacoresistance in epilepsy in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3693085  PMID: 21677164
16.  PET and SPECT Radiotracers to Assess Function and Expression of ABC Transporters in Vivo 
Current drug metabolism  2011;12(8):774-792.
Adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, such as P-glycoprotein (Pgp, ABCB1), breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP, ABCG2) and multidrug resistance-associated proteins (MRPs) are expressed in high concentrations at various physiological barriers (e.g. blood-brain barrier, blood-testis barrier, blood-tumor barrier), where they impede the tissue accumulation of various drugs by active efflux transport. Changes in ABC transporter expression and function are thought to be implicated in various diseases, such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The availability of a non-invasive imaging method which allows for measuring ABC transporter function or expression in vivo would be of great clinical use in that it could facilitate the identification of those patients that would benefit from treatment with ABC transporter modulating drugs. To date three different kinds of imaging probes have been described to measure ABC transporters in vivo: i) radiolabelled transporter substrates ii) radiolabelled transporter inhibitors and iii) radiolabelled prodrugs which are enzymatically converted into transporter substrates in the organ of interest (e.g. brain). The design of new imaging probes to visualize efflux transporters is inter alia complicated by the overlapping substrate recognition pattern of different ABC transporter types. The present article will describe currently available ABC transporter radiotracers for positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and critically discuss strengths and limitations of individual probes and their potential clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3691789  PMID: 21434859
ABC transporter; blood-brain barrier; breast cancer resistance protein; multidrug resistance-associated protein; P-glycoprotein; positron emission tomography; single-photon emission computed tomography
17.  A pilot study to assess the efficacy of tariquidar to inhibit P-glycoprotein at the human blood-brain barrier with (R)–11C-verapamil and PET 
Tariquidar, a potent, nontoxic, third-generation P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibitor, is a possible reversal agent for central nervous system drug resistance. In animal studies, tariquidar has been shown to increase delivery of P-gp substrates into brain by several-fold. The aim of this study was to measure P-gp function at the human blood-brain barrier (BBB) after tariquidar administration using PET and the model P-gp substrate (R)–11C-verapamil. Methods: 5 healthy volunteers underwent paired (R)–11C-verapamil PET scans and arterial blood sampling, before and at 2 h 50 min after i.v. administration of tariquidar (2 mg/kg body weight). Inhibition of P-gp on CD56+ peripheral lymphocytes of each volunteer was determined by means of the rhodamine-123 efflux assay. Tariquidar concentrations in venous plasma were quantified using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Results: Tariquidar administration resulted in significant increases (Wilcoxon test for paired samples) in the distribution volume (DV, +24±15%) and influx rate constant (K1, +49±36%) of (R)–11C-verapamil across the BBB (DV=0.65±0.13 and 0.80±0.07, p=0.043, K1=0.034±0.009 and 0.049±0.009, p=0.043, before and after tariquidar, respectively). A strong correlation was observed between change in brain DV after administration of tariquidar and tariquidar exposure in plasma (r=0.90, p=0.037). The mean plasma concentration of tariquidar achieved during the second PET scan (490±166 ng/mL) corresponded to 100% inhibition of P-gp function in peripheral lymphocytes. Conclusion: Tariquidar significantly increased brain penetration of (R)–11C-verapamil-derived activity, due to increased influx. As opposed to peripheral P-gp function, central P-gp inhibition appeared to be far from complete after the administered tariquidar dose.
PMCID: PMC3690436  PMID: 19910428
PET; (R)-11C-verapamil; tariquidar; P-glycoprotein; blood-brain barrier
18.  Synthesis and preclinical evaluation of the radiolabeled P-glycoprotein inhibitor [11C]MC113 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2012;39(8):1219-1225.
With the aim to develop a PET tracer to visualize P-glycoprotein (Pgp) expression levels in different organs, the Pgp inhibitor MC113 was labeled with 11C and evaluated using small-animal PET.
[11C]MC113 was synthesized by reaction of O-desmethyl MC113 with [11C]methyl triflate. Small-animal PET was performed with [11C]MC113 in FVB wild-type and Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice (n=3 per group) and in a mouse model of high (EMT6Ar1.0) and low (EMT6) Pgp expressing tumor grafts (n=5). In the tumor model, PET scans were performed before and after administration of the reference Pgp inhibitor tariquidar (15 mg/kg).
Brain uptake of [11C]MC113, expressed as area under the time-activity curve from time 0 to 60 min (AUC0-60), was moderately but not significantly increased in Mdr1a/b(−/−) compared with wild-type mice (mean±SD AUC0-60, Mdr1a/b(−/−): 88±7 min, wild-type: 62±6 min, P=0.100, Mann Whitney test). In the tumor model, AUC0-60 values were not significantly different between EMT6Ar1.0 and EMT6 tumors. Neither in brain nor in tumors was activity concentration significantly changed in response to tariquidar administration. Half-maximum effect concentrations (IC50) for inhibition of Pgp-mediated rhodamine 123 efflux from CCRFvcr1000 cells were 375±60 nM for MC113 versus 8.5±2.5 nM for tariquidar.
[11C]MC113 showed higher brain uptake in mice than previously described Pgp PET tracers, suggesting that [11C]MC113 was only to a low extent effluxed by Pgp. However, [11C]MC113 was found unsuitable to visualize Pgp expression levels presumably due to insufficiently high Pgp binding affinity of MC113 in relation to Pgp densities in brain and tumors.
PMCID: PMC3690439  PMID: 22981987
P-glycoprotein; blood-brain barrier; tumor; tariquidar; MC113; MC18; positron emission tomography
19.  Synthesis and in vivo evaluation of [11C]tariquidar, a positron emission tomography radiotracer based on a third-generation P-glycoprotein inhibitor 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2010;18(15):5489-5497.
The aim of this study was to develop a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer based on the dual P-glycoprotein (P-gp) breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) inhibitor tariquidar (1) to study the interaction of 1 with P-gp and BCRP in the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo. O-desmethyl-1 was synthesized and reacted with [11C]methyl triflate to afford [11C]-1. Small-animal PET imaging of [11C]-1 was performed in naïve rats, before and after administration of unlabeled 1 (15 mg/kg, n=3) or the dual P-gp/BCRP inhibitor elacridar (5 mg/kg, n=2), as well as in wild-type, Mdr1a/b(−/−), Bcrp1(−/−) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice (n=3). In vitro autoradiography was performed with [11C]-1 using brain sections of all 4 mouse types, with and without co-incubation with unlabeled 1 or elacridar (1 μM). In PET experiments in rats, administration of unlabeled 1 or elacridar increased brain activity uptake by a factor of 3-4, whereas blood activity levels remained unchanged. In Mdr1a/b(−/−), Bcrp1(−/−) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice, brain-to-blood ratios of activity at 25 min after tracer injection were 3.4, 1.8 and 14.5 times higher, respectively, as compared to wild-type animals. Autoradiography showed approximately 50% less [11C]-1 binding in transporter knockout mice compared to wild-type mice and significant displacement by unlabeled elacridar in wild-type and Mdr1a/b(−/−) mouse brains. Our data suggest that [11C]-1 interacts specifically with P-gp and BCRP in the BBB. However, further investigations are needed to assess if [11C]-1 behaves in vivo as a transported or a non-transported inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3690440  PMID: 20621487
PET; [11C]tariquidar; P-glycoprotein; breast cancer resistance protein; blood-brain barrier
20.  Synthesis and small-animal positron emission tomography evaluation of [11C]-elacridar as a radiotracer to assess the distribution of P-glycoprotein at the blood-brain barrier 
Journal of medicinal chemistry  2009;52(19):6073-6082.
With the aim to develop a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer to assess the distribution of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo, the potent third-generation P-gp inhibitor elacridar (1) was labeled with 11C by reaction of O-desmethyl 1 with [11C]-methyl triflate. In vitro autoradiography and small-animal PET imaging of [11C]-1 was performed in rats (n=3), before and after administration of unlabeled 1, as well as in wild-type, Mdr1a/b(−/−) and Bcrp1(−/−) mice (n=3). In PET experiments in rats, administration of unlabeled 1 increased brain activity uptake 5.4-fold, whereas blood activity levels remained unchanged. In Mdr1a/b(−/−) mice, brain activity uptake was 2.5-fold higher compared to wild-type animals, whereas in Bcrp1(−/−) mice brain activity uptake was only 1.3-fold higher. In vitro autoradiography showed that 63% of [11C]-1 binding was displaceable by an excess of unlabeled 1. As the signal obtained with [11C]-1 appeared to be specific for P-gp at the BBB, its utility for the visualization of cerebral P-gp merits further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3690441  PMID: 19711894
P-gp; elacridar; 11C; PET; blood-brain barrier
21.  Interaction of HM30181 with P-glycoprotein at the murine blood-brain barrier assessed with positron emission tomography 
European journal of pharmacology  2012;696(0):18-27.
HM30181, a potent and selective inhibitor of the adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp), was shown to enhance oral bioavailability and improve antitumour efficacy of paclitaxel in mouse tumour models. In search for a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer to visualise Pgp expression levels at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), we examined the ability of HM30181 to inhibit Pgp at the murine BBB. HM30181 was shown to be approximately equipotent with the reference Pgp inhibitor tariquidar in inhibiting rhodamine 123 efflux from CCRF-CEM T cells (IC50, tariquidar: 8.2±2.0 nM, HM30181: 13.1±2.3 nM). PET scans with the Pgp substrate (R)-[11C]verapamil in FVB wild-type mice pretreated i.v. with HM30181 (10 or 21 mg/kg) failed to show significant increases in (R)-[11C]verapamil brain uptake compared with vehicle treated animals. PET scans with [11C]HM30181 showed low and not significantly different brain uptake of [11C]HM30181 in wild-type, Mdr1a/b(−/−) and Bcrp1(−/−) mice and significantly, i.e. 4.7-fold (P<0.01), higher brain uptake, relative to wild-type animals, in Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice. This was consistent with HM30181 being at microdoses a dual substrate of Pgp and breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp). In vitro autoradiography on low (EMT6) and high (EMT6Ar1.0) Pgp expressing murine breast tumour sections showed 1.9 times higher binding of [11C]HM30181 in EMT6Ar1.0 tumours (P<0.001) which was displaceable with unlabelled tariquidar, elacridar or HM30181 (1 μM). Our data suggest that HM30181 is not able to inhibit Pgp at the murine BBB at clinically feasible doses and that [11C]HM30181 is not suitable as a PET tracer to visualise cerebral Pgp expression levels.
PMCID: PMC3690544  PMID: 23022332
P-glycoprotein; blood-brain barrier; HM30181; tariquidar; positron emission tomography; microdosing
22.  Dose-response assessment of tariquidar and elacridar and regional quantification of P-glycoprotein inhibition at the rat blood-brain barrier using (R)-[11C]verapamil PET 
Overactivity of the multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is believed to play an important role in resistance to central nervous system drug treatment. (R)-[11C]verapamil (VPM) PET can be used to measure the function of P-gp at the BBB, but low brain uptake of VPM hampers the mapping of regional differences in cerebral P-gp function and expression. The aim of this study was to evaluate the dose-response relationship of two potent P-gp inhibitors and to investigate if increased brain uptake of VPM mediated by P-gp inhibition can be used to assess regional differences in P-gp activity.
Two groups of Sprague-Dawley rats (n=12) underwent single VPM PET scans at 120 min after administration of different doses of the P-gp inhibitors tariquidar and elacridar. In an additional 6 rats, paired VPM PET scans were performed before and after administration of 3 mg/kg tariquidar.
Inhibitor administration resulted in an up to 11-fold increase in VPM brain distribution volumes (DV) with ED50 values of 3.0±0.2 and 1.2±0.1 mg/kg for tariquidar and elacridar, respectively. In paired PET scans, 3 mg/kg tariquidar resulted in regionally different enhancement of brain activity distribution, with lowest DV in cerebellum and highest DV in thalamus.
Our data show that tariquidar and elacridar are able to increase VPM brain distribution in rat brain up to 11-fold over baseline at maximum effective doses, with elacridar being about 3 times more potent than tariquidar. Regional differences in tariquidar-induced modulation of VPM brain uptake point to regional differences in cerebral P-gp function and expression in rat brain.
PMCID: PMC3690672  PMID: 20016890
small animal PET; (R)–[11C]verapamil; tariquidar; elacridar; P-glycoprotein, blood-brain barrier, regional
23.  Tariquidar-induced P-glycoprotein inhibition at the rat blood-brain barrier studied with (R)-11C-verapamil and PET 
The multidrug efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is expressed in high concentrations at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and believed to be implicated in resistance to central nervous system drugs. We used small-animal positron emission tomography (PET) and (R)-11C-verapamil together with tariquidar, a new-generation P-gp modulator, to study the functional activity of P-gp at the BBB of rats. To enable a comparison with human PET data we performed kinetic modeling to estimate the rate constants of radiotracer transport across the rat BBB.
A group of 7 Wistar Unilever rats underwent paired (R)-11C-verapamil PET scans at an interval of 3 h, one baseline scan and one scan after i.v. injection of tariquidar (15 mg/kg, n=5) or vehicle (n=2).
Following tariquidar administration, the distribution volume DV of (R)-11C-verapamil was 12-fold higher as compared to baseline (3.68±0.81 versus 0.30±0.08; p=0.0007, paired t-test), whereas the DVs were essentially the same when only vehicle was administered. The increase in DV could mainly be attributed to an increased influx rate constant K1 of (R)-11C-verapamil into the brain, which was about 8-fold higher after tariquidar. A dose-response assessment with tariquidar provided an estimated half-maximum effect dose (ED50) of 8.4±9.5 mg/kg.
Our data demonstrate that (R)-11C-verapamil PET combined with tariquidar administration is a promising approach to measure P-gp function at the BBB.
PMCID: PMC3690700  PMID: 18632828
Small-animal PET; (R)-11C-verapamil; tariquidar; P-glycoprotein; blood-brain barrier; drug resistance
24.  Radiosynthesis and in vivo evaluation of 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar as a positron emission tomography tracer for P-glycoprotein and breast cancer resistance protein 
Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry  2011;19(7):2190-2198.
Aim of this study was to label the potent dual P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) inhibitor elacridar (1) with 18F to provide a positron emission tomography (PET) radiotracer to visualize Pgp and BCRP. A series of new 1- and 2-halogen- and nitro-substituted derivatives of 1 (4a-e) was synthesized as precursor molecules and reference compounds for radiolabelling and shown to display comparable in vitro potency to 1 in increasing rhodamine 123 accumulation in a cell line overexpressing human Pgp (MDCKII-MDR1). 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar ([18F]4b) was synthesized in a decay-corrected radiochemical yield of 1.7±0.9% by a 1-step no-carrier added nucleophilic aromatic 18F-substitution of 1-nitro precursor 4c. Small-animal PET imaging of [18F]4b was performed in naïve rats, before and after administration of unlabelled 1 (5 mg/kg, n=3), as well as in wild-type and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice (n=3). In PET experiments in rats, administration of unlabelled 1 increased brain activity uptake by a factor of 9.5 (p=0.0002, 2-tailed Student’s t-test), whereas blood activity levels remained unchanged. In Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice, the mean brain-to-blood ratio of activity at 60 min after tracer injection was 7.6 times higher as compared to wild-type animals (p=0.0002). HPLC analysis of rat brain tissue extracts collected at 40 min after injection of [18F]4b revealed that 93±7% of total radioactivity in brain was in the form of unchanged [18F]4b. In conclusion, the in vivo behavior of [18F]4b was found to be similar to previously described [11C]1 suggesting transport of [18F]4b by BCRP and/or Pgp at the rodent BBB. However, low radiochemical yields and a significant degree of in vivo defluorination will limit the utility of [18F]4b as a PET tracer.
PMCID: PMC3690701  PMID: 21419632
PET; 1-[18F]fluoroelacridar; P-glycoprotein; breast cancer resistance protein; blood-brain barrier
25.  Synthesis and in vivo evaluation of the putative breast cancer resistance protein inhibitor [11C]methyl 4-((4-(2-(6,7-dimethoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinolin-2-yl)ethyl)phenyl)amino-carbonyl)-2-(quinoline-2-carbonylamino)benzoate 
Nuclear medicine and biology  2010;37(5):637-644.
The multidrug efflux transporter breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) is highly expressed in the blood-brain barrier (BBB), where it limits brain entry of a broad range of endogenous and exogenous substrates. Methyl 4-((4-(2-(6,7-dimethoxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinolin-2-yl)ethyl)phenyl)amino-carbonyl)-2-(quinoline-2-carbonylamino)benzoate (1) is a recently discovered BCRP-selective inhibitor, which is structurally derived from the potent P-glycoprotein (P-gp) inhibitor tariquidar. The aim of this study was to develop a new PET tracer based on 1 to map BCRP expression levels in vivo.
1 was labelled with 11C in its methyl ester function by reaction of the corresponding carboxylic acid 2 with [11C]methyl triflate. PET imaging of [11C]-1 was performed in wild-type, Mdr1a/b(−/−), Bcrp1(−/−) and Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice (n=3 per mouse type) and radiotracer metabolism was assessed in plasma and brain.
Brain-to-plasma ratios of unchanged [11C]-1 were 4.8- and 10.3-fold higher in Mdr1a/b(−/−) and in Mdr1a/b(−/−)Bcrp1(−/−) mice, respectively, as compared to wild-type animals, but only modestly increased in Bcrp1(−/−) mice. [11C]-1 was rapidly metabolized in vivo giving rise to a polar radiometabolite which was taken up into brain tissue.
Our data suggest that [11C]-1 preferably interacts with P-gp rather than BCRP at the murine BBB which questions its reported in vitro BCRP selectivity. Consequently, [11C]-1 appears to be unsuitable as a PET tracer to map cerebral BCRP expression.
PMCID: PMC3690702  PMID: 20610168
breast cancer resistance protein; P-glycoprotein; blood-brain barrier; PET; inhibitor; tariquidar

Results 1-25 (79)