Novel gallium(III) complexes transported by MDR1 P-glycoprotein: Potential PET imaging agents for probing P-glycoprotein-mediated transport activity in vivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

58 Scopus citations


Background: Multidrug resistance (MDR) mediated by expression of MDR1 P-glycoprotein (Pgp) represents one of the best characterized barriers to chemotherapy in cancer patients. Positron emission tomography (PET) agents for analysis of Pgp-mediated drug transport activity in vivo would enable noninvasive assessment of chemotherapeutic regimens and MDR gene therapy. Results: Candidate Schiff-base phenolic gallium(III) complexes were synthesized from their heptadentate precursors and gallium(III)acetylacetonate. Crystal structures demonstrated a hexacoordinated central gallium with overall trans-pseudo-octahedral geometry. Radiolabeled 67Ga-complexes were obtained in high purity and screened in drug-sensitive (Pgp-) and MDR (Pgp+) tumor cells. Compared with control, lead compound 6 demonstrated antagonist-reversible 55-fold lower accumulation in Pgp-expressing MDR cells. Furthermore, compared with wild-type control, quantitative pharmacokinetic analysis showed markedly increased penetration and retention of 6 in brain and liver tissues of mdr1a/b((-/-)) gene disrupted mice, correctly mapping Pgp-mediated transport activity at the capillary blood-brain barrier and hepatocellular biliary cannalicular surface in vivo. Conclusions: These results indicate that gallium(III) complex 6 is recognized by MDR1 Pgp as an avid transport substrate, thereby providing a useful scaffold to generate 68Ga radiopharmaceuticals for molecular imaging of Pgp transport activity in tumors and tissues in vivo using PET.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-343
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2000



  • Gallium complexes
  • Molecular imaging
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry

Cite this