Mol. Psychiatry - (-) - [2021-09-03; online 2021-09-03]
Comprehensive determination of the extent of drug transport across the region-specific blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a major challenge in preclinical studies. Multiple approaches are needed to determine the regional free (unbound) drug concentration at which a drug engages with its therapeutic target. We present an approach that merges in vivo and in vitro neuropharmacokinetic investigations with mass spectrometry imaging to quantify and visualize both the extent of unbound drug BBB transport and the post-BBB cerebral distribution of drugs at regional and subregional levels. Direct imaging of the antipsychotic drugs risperidone, clozapine, and olanzapine using this approach enabled differentiation of regional and subregional BBB transport characteristics at 20-µm resolution in small brain regions, which could not be achieved by other means. Our approach allows investigation of heterogeneity in BBB transport and presents new possibilities for molecular psychiatrists by facilitating interpretation of regional target-site exposure results and decision-making.