Eradication of HIV reservoirs in the brain necessitates penetration of antiviral agents across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a process limited by drug efflux proteins such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp) at the membrane of brain capillary endothelial cells. We present an innovative chemical strategy toward the goal of therapeutic brain penetration of the P-gp substrate and antiviral agent abacavir, in conjunction with a traceless tether. Dimeric prodrugs of abacavir were designed to have two functions: inhibit P-gp efflux at the BBB and revert to monomeric therapeutic within cellular reducing environments. The prodrug dimers are potent P-gp inhibitors in cell culture and in a brain capillary model of the BBB. Significantly, these agents demonstrate anti-HIV activity in two T-cell-based HIV assays, a result that is linked to cellular reversion of the prodrug to abacavir. This strategy represents a platform technology that may be applied to other therapies with limited brain penetration due to P-glycoprotein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry