Year of Publication


Document Type



Graduate School



First Advisor

Patrick J. McNamara


The objective of this dissertation is to study the mechanism by which HIV protease inhibitors enter into the central nervous system (CNS) and breast milk of rats, and what effects MDR modulators have on the distribution and metabolism of HIV protease inhibitors. The transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) has been shown to limit the distribution of HIV protease inhibitors into the CNS of rodents. This thesis examined the effects of GF120918, an MDR modulator, on the CNS distribution of amprenavir, an HIV protease inhibitor, in rats. GF120918 significantly increased the unbound CNS concentrations of amprenavir without altering the unbound blood concentrations of amprenavir. The results of these studies show that GF120918 can inhibit P-gp at the blood brain barrier (BBB) to increase the unbound CNS concentration of amprenavir and potentially other HIV protease inhibitors. Many first generation MDR modulators inhibited both P-gp transport and CYP3A metabolism. Therefore, a principal goal of this thesis was to determine if GF120918 could selectively inhibit P-gp transport without inhibiting CYP3A metabolism. Using in vitro (human) and in vivo (rat) studies, GF120918 selectively inhibited P-gp at the BBB without inhibiting CYP3A metabolism. The transporter MRP1 has been shown to both transport HIV protease inhibitors and expressed in the CNS. Studies contained in the thesis have shown that mrp1 is not localized to the BBB of rats, therefore, mrp1 is unlikely to play a significant role in the distribution of HIV protease inhibitors into the CNS of rats. The distribution of nelfinavir, an HIV protease inhibitor, into rat breast milk was studied in the thesis as a first approach in understanding the extent to which HIV protease inhibitors can accumulate into milk. The concentration of nelfinavir in rat milk was approximately half that of plasma. P-gp protein expression was detected in lactating rat mammary tissue. However, GF120918 showed no effect on the distribution of nelfinavir into rat milk suggesting that P-gp does not play a significant role in the distribution of HIV protease inhibitors into milk.