Purpose: The function of ABCG2 (BCRP), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of membrane-associated drug transporters, at the blood-brain barrier remains highly controversial. This project investigates the functional expression of endogenous ABCG2 in cultures of human and rodent brain cellular compartments.
Materials and methods: RT-PCR, western blot and fluorescent immunocytochemical analyses were performed on ABCG2-overexpressing human breast cancer (MCF-MX100) cells, human and rat brain microvessel endothelial (HBEC and RBE4, respectively), and rat glial cells.
Results: RT-PCR analysis detected ABCG2 mRNA in all the cell culture systems. Western blot analysis with anti-ABCG2 monoclonal BXP-21 antibody detected a robust band at approximately 72 kDa in the ABCG2-overexpressing MCF-MX100 cell line, whereas low expression was found in human and rat brain cell systems. Immunofluorescence microscopy detected predominant plasma membrane localization of ABCG2 in MCF-MX100 cells but weak signal in all brain cellular compartments. In the presence of ABCG2 inhibitors, the accumulation of (3)H-mitoxantrone and pheophorbide A, two established ABCG2 substrates, was significantly increased in MCF-MX100 cells but not in the human and rodent brain cell culture systems.
Conclusions: Our data show low endogenous ABCG2 protein expression, localization and activity in cultures of human and rat brain microvessel endothelial and glial cells.