The present article aims to review the up-to-date information on the most recent studies of the interaction of flavonoids with ABC transporters, in particular the drug pharmacokinetic consequences of such a relationship. In addition, the modulation of the expression of the ABC transporters by flavonoids is also illustrated. Flavonoids are a large group of plant polyphenols present extensively in our daily diets and herbal products. High intake of isoflavones has been associated with a variety of beneficial effects on several common diseases. These polyphenols interact with ABC drug transporters involved in drug resistance and drug absorption, distribution and excretion. A number of studies have demonstrated inhibition of drug transporters by flavonoids. This flavonoid-ABC-transporter interaction could be beneficial for poorly absorbed drugs but could also result in severe drug intoxication, especially drugs with a narrow therapeutic window. On the other hand, flavonoids are themselves substrates of ABC transporters. These proteins can affect the oral availability and tissue distribution of these compounds, modifying their beneficial effects. The challenge is to find a suitable way to predict harmful drug-flavonoid interactions mediated by these transporters.
(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. and the American Pharmacists Association.