Journal of pharmaceutical sciences

Time-dependent effects of hydrophobic amine-containing drugs on lysosome structure and biogenesis in cultured human fibroblasts.

PMID 25042198


Many weakly basic amine-containing drugs are known to be extensively sequestered in acidic lysosomes by an ion trapping-type mechanism. The entrapment of drugs in lysosomes has been shown to influence drug activity, cancer cell selectivity, and pharmacokinetics and can cause the hyperaccumulation of various lipids associated with lysosomes. In this work, we have investigated the prolonged time-dependent effects of drugs on lysosomal properties. We have evaluated two amine-containing drugs with intermediate (propranolol) and high (halofantrine) relative degrees of lipophilicity. Interestingly, the cellular accumulation kinetics of these drugs exhibited a biphasic characteristic at therapeutically relevant exposure levels with an initial apparent steady-state occurring at 2 days followed by a second stage of enhanced accumulation. We provide evidence that this secondary drug accumulation coincides with the nuclear localization of transcription factor EB, a master regulator of lysosome biogenesis, and the appearance of an increased number of smaller and lipid-laden lysosomes. Collectively, these results show that hydrophobic lysosomotropic drugs can induce their own cellular accumulation in a time-dependent fashion and that this is associated with an expanded lysosomal volume. These results have important therapeutic implications and may help to explain sources of variability in drug pharmacokinetic distribution and elimination properties observed in vivo.