P-glycoprotein and caveolin-1alpha in endothelium and astrocytes of primate brain

Neuroreport. 2003 Nov 14;14(16):2041-6. doi: 10.1097/00001756-200311140-00007.


P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and caveolin-1alpha are both involved in membrane transport, and studies in rodent brain show that these proteins are specifically localized at the microvascular endothelium, which forms the blood-brain barrier (BBB). In humans, P-gp is also expressed in astrocytes, especially in pathological tissue. The present study examines the cellular expression of P-gp and caveolin-1alpha in fresh-frozen brain from healthy rhesus monkey using confocal microscopy and polyclonal antibodies against either P-gp or caveolin-1alpha co-labeled for astrocytes or microvascular endothelium. P-gp and caveolin-1alpha are expressed in both astrocytes and endothelium of healthy primate brain. These findings suggest that P-gp and caveolin-1alpha share a broad spectrum of cellular expression and may play a role in drug transport within the brain in addition to the BBB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Macaca mulatta / anatomy & histology
  • Macaca mulatta / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Pharmacokinetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins