Assessment of ABCG2-mediated transport of pesticides across the rabbit placenta barrier using a novel MDCKII in vitro model

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2016 Aug 15;305:66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2016.06.007. Epub 2016 Jun 8.


In humans, the ATP-binding cassette efflux transporter ABCG2 contributes to the fetoprotective barrier function of the placenta, potentially limiting the toxicity of transporter substrates to the fetus. During testing of chemicals including pesticides, developmental toxicity studies are performed in rabbit. Despite its toxicological relevance, ABCG2-mediated transport of pesticides in rabbit placenta has not been yet elucidated. We therefore generated polarized MDCK II cells expressing the ABCG2 transporter from rabbit placenta (rbABCG2) and evaluated interaction of the efflux transporter with selected insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. The Hoechst H33342 accumulation assay indicated that 13 widely used pesticidal active substances including azoxystrobin, carbendazim, chlorpyrifos, chlormequat, diflufenican, dimethoate, dimethomorph, dithianon, ioxynil, methiocarb, propamocarb, rimsulfuron and toclofos-methyl may be rbABCG2 inhibitors and/or substrates. No such evidence was obtained for chlorpyrifos-methyl, epoxiconazole, glyphosate, imazalil and thiacloprid. Moreover, chlorpyrifos (CPF), dimethomorph, tolclofos-methyl and rimsulfuron showed concentration-dependent inhibition of H33342 excretion in rbABCG2-transduced MDCKII cells. To further evaluate the role of rbABCG2 in pesticide transport across the placenta barrier, we generated polarized MDCKII-rbABCG2 monolayers. Confocal microscopy confirmed correct localization of rbABCG2 protein in the apical plasma membrane. In transepithelial flux studies, we showed the time-dependent preferential basolateral to apical (B>A) directed transport of [(14)C] CPF across polarized MDCKII-rbABCG2 monolayers which was significantly inhibited by the ABCG2 inhibitor fumitremorgin C (FTC). Using this novel in vitro cell culture model, we altogether showed functional secretory activity of the ABCG2 transporter from rabbit placenta and identified several pesticides like the insecticide CPF as potential rbABCG2 substrates.

Keywords: ABCG2 (BCRP); Developmental toxicity; Pesticides; Placenta; Rabbit; Transport.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells
  • Pesticides / pharmacology*
  • Placenta / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rabbits


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • Pesticides