The pharmacological role of P-glycoprotein in the intestinal epithelium

Pharmacol Res. 1998 Jun;37(6):429-35. doi: 10.1006/phrs.1998.0326.


P-glycoprotein, a membrane-associated transport protein, has recently been recognised as an important element of the intestinal epithelium. This paper summarises the in vivo data on the pharmacological role of intestinal P-glycoprotein. These data show that P-glycoprotein contributes to the elimination of many drugs by mediating their direct secretion from the blood into the intestinal lumen. In addition, there is also evidence that this protein can limit oral drug absorption. Hence, inhibition of intestinal P-glycoprotein, e.g. by a reversal agent like cyclosporin A, may be a promising strategy for improving the oral bioavailability of P-glycoprotein substrate drugs. Indeed, several preclinical and clinical studies have shown that coadministration of drugs with a reversal agent can substantially increase oral drug absorption.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Pharmacokinetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations