Differential expression of the multidrug resistance-related proteins ABCb1 and ABCc1 between blood-brain interfaces

J Comp Neurol. 2008 Oct 10;510(5):497-507. doi: 10.1002/cne.21808.


Cerebral homeostasis results from the presence of the protective blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers located respectively at the brain capillary endothelium and the choroid plexus epithelium. ABCb1 (Pgp) and ABCc1 (Mrp1) transporters are two major proteins of neuroprotection whose localization and functional significance at both barriers remain partly unsettled. We conducted a comparative analysis of their relative protein content between the two blood-brain interfaces. Microvessels and choroid plexuses located in the fourth and lateral ventricles were isolated from developing and adult rat brains, and whole homogenates were submitted to quantitative Western blot analysis by using standard curves generated from one of the samples. In adult, choroid plexus-associated Pgp content was less than 0.5% of the level in microvessels, whereas Mrp1 content in microvessels was 4% of that in the fourth ventricle choroid plexus. Pgp but not Mrp1 was enriched in microvessels over parenchyma. In choroid plexuses, Mrp1 displayed a basolateral epithelial localization, and reached its high adult protein level, early during postnatal development. In postnatal as in adult microvessels, Pgp localization appeared luminal. However, by contrast to Mrp1, the level of this transporter increased 4.6-fold between 9-day-old and adult animals. Western blot analysis of human samples confirmed the mirror image of Pgp and Mrp1 expression between the two barriers. We conclude that there are major differences in the mechanisms by which blood-brain interfaces fulfill their neuroprotective functions. The data also highlight the significance of the neuroprotective function of the choroid plexus during brain maturation, when the microvasculature is still developing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / cytology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Choroid Plexus / cytology
  • Choroid Plexus / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Microcirculation / cytology
  • Microcirculation / metabolism*
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 1