Evaluation of blood–brain barrier thiamine efflux using the in situ rat brain perfusion method


Address correspondence and reprint requests to David D. Allen, PhD, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Texas Tech University HSC, 1300 So. Coulter Dr, Amarillo, Texas, 79106-1712, USA. E-mail: dallen@cortex.ama.ttuhsc.edu


Thiamine is an essential, positively charged (under physiologic conditions), water-soluble vitamin requiring transport into brain. Brain thiamine deficiency has been linked to neurodegenerative disease by subsequent impairment of thiamine-dependent enzymes used in brain glucose/energy metabolism. In this report, we evaluate brain uptake and efflux of [3H]thiamine using the in situ rat brain perfusion technique. To confirm brain distribution was not related to blood–brain barrier endothelial cell uptake, we compared parenchymal and cell distribution of [3H]thiamine using capillary depletion. Our work supports previous literature findings suggesting blood–brain barrier thiamine uptake is via a carrier-mediated transport mechanism, yet extends the literature by redefining the kinetics with more sensitive methodology. Significantly, [3H]thiamine brain accumulation was influenced by a considerable efflux rate. Evaluation of the efflux mechanism demonstrated increased stimulation by the presence of increased vascular thiamine. The influx transport mechanism and efflux rate were each comparable throughout brain regions despite documented differences in glucose and thiamine metabolism. The observation that [3H]thiamine blood–brain barrier influx and efflux is regionally homogenous may have significant relevance to neurodegenerative disease linked to thiamine deficiency.