P-glycoprotein and bilirubin disposition

J Perinatol. 2001 Dec;21 Suppl 1:S43-7; discussion S59-62. doi: 10.1038/sj.jp.7210633.


P-glycoprotein (Pgp), an ATP-dependent plasma membrane efflux pump, is expressed in abundance on the luminal aspect of brain capillary endothelial cells and astrocytes of the blood-brain barrier where it limits the passage of a variety of lipophilic substrates into the central nervous system. This review summarizes current evidence characterizing (1) unconjugated bilirubin as a potential substrate for Pgp and (2) the ontogeny of Pgp expression at the blood-brain barrier and apical brush border epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract, findings that may provide insights regarding the disposition of bilirubin in immature subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bilirubin / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport
  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Genes, MDR
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Kernicterus / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Bilirubin