The transport of prostaglandin E(1) (PGE(1)) across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) was characterized using an in-situ rat brain perfusion technique. The uptake of [(3)H]PGE(1) was not affected by shortchain monocarboxylic acids (butyric acid and valeric acid). On the other hand, uptake of [(3)H]PGE(1) was significantly inhibited by medium-chain monocarboxylic acids such as hexanoic acid, enanthic acid and octanoic acid. These medium-chain monocarboxylic acids showed a more potent inhibitory effect on [(3)H]PGE(1) uptake with increasing number of carbon atoms. In contrast, there was no decrease in [(3)H]PGE(1) transport by any dicarboxylic acids with 5-8 carbon atoms. Valproic acid decreased [(3)H]PGE(1) uptake, whereas p-aminohippuric acid, a substrate for the organic anion transporter family, did not inhibit [(3)H]PGE(1) transport. Bromocresol green, an inhibitor of prostaglandin transporter (PGT), strongly decreased [(3)H]PGE(1) transport across the BBB. In addition, digoxin and taurocholate, substrates for organic anion transporting polypeptide subtype 2 (Oatp2), significantly inhibited [(3)H]PGE(1) uptake. RT-PCR analysis revealed that PGT mRNA and Oatp2 mRNA are expressed in a capillary-rich fraction from rat brain. Thus, it is suggested that PGE(1) transport across the BBB is mediated by some specific transport systems, possibly by the members of the Oatp family.