The clearance of amyloid beta (Abeta) from the brain represents a novel therapeutic target for Alzheimer's disease. Conflicting data exist regarding the contribution of adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporters to the clearance of Abeta through the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, we investigated whether Abeta could be a substrate for P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and/or for breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) using a human brain endothelial cell line, hCMEC/D3. Inhibition of P-gp and BCRP increased apical-to-basolateral, but not basolateral-to-apical, permeability of hCMEC/D3 cells to (125)I Abeta 1-40. Our in vitro data suggest that P-gp and BCRP might act to prevent the blood-borne Abeta 1-40 from entering the brain.