The Dual Cyclooxygenase/5-Lipoxygenase Inhibitor Licofelone Attenuates P-Glycoprotein-Mediated Drug Resistance in the Injured Spinal Cord Academic Article uri icon


  • There are currently no proven effective treatments that can improve recovery of function in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. Many therapeutic compounds have shown promise in pre-clinical studies, but clinical trials have been largely unsuccessful. P-glycoprotein (Pgp, Abcb1b) is a drug efflux transporter of the blood-spinal cord barrier that limits spinal cord penetration of blood-borne xenobiotics. Pathological Pgp upregulation in diseases such as cancer causes heightened resistance to a broad variety of therapeutic drugs. Importantly, several drugs that have been evaluated for the treatment of SCI, such as riluzole, are known substrates of Pgp. We therefore examined whether Pgp-mediated pharmacoresistance diminishes delivery of riluzole to the injured spinal cord. Following moderate contusion injury at T10 in male Sprague-Dawley rats, we observed a progressive, spatial spread of increased Pgp expression from 3 days to 10 months post-SCI. Spinal cord uptake of i.p.-delivered riluzole was significantly reduced following SCI in wild type but not Abcb1a-knockout rats, highlighting a critical role for Pgp in mediating drug resistance following SCI. Because inflammation can drive Pgp upregulation, we evaluated the ability of the new generation dual anti-inflammatory drug licofelone to promote spinal cord delivery of riluzole following SCI. We found that licofelone both reduced Pgp expression and enhanced riluzole bioavailability within the lesion site at 72 h post-SCI. This work highlights Pgp-mediated drug resistance as an important obstacle to therapeutic drug delivery for SCI, and suggests licofelone as a novel combinatorial treatment strategy to enhance therapeutic drug delivery to the injured spinal cord.

author list (cited authors)

  • Dulin, J. N., Moore, M. L., & Grill, R. J.

citation count

  • 19

publication date

  • February 2013