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 72h 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.

published proceedings

  • J Neurotrauma

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Dulin, Jennifer N||Moore, Meredith L||Grill, Raymond J

publication date

  • January 2013