ABC and SLC transporter expression and POT substrate characterization across the human CMEC/D3 blood-brain barrier cell line

Carl, Stephen M.; Lindley, David J.; Couraud, Pierre O.; Weksler, Babette B.; Romero, Ignacio; Mowery, Stephanie A. and Knipp, Gregory T. (2010). ABC and SLC transporter expression and POT substrate characterization across the human CMEC/D3 blood-brain barrier cell line. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 7(4) pp. 1057–1068.



Initial studies indicate that the newly developed hCMEC/D3 cell line may prove to be a useful model for studying the physiology of the human blood?brain barrier (BBB) endothelium. The purpose of this study was to assess the mRNA expression of several ABC and SLC transporters, with an emphasis on the proton-coupled oligopeptide transporter superfamily (POT) transporters in this immortalized BBB cell model. The transport kinetics of POT-substrates was also evaluated. The hCMEC/D3 cell line was maintained in a modified EGM-2 medium in collagenated culture flasks and passaged every 3?4 days at approximately 85%?95% confluence. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of a variety of ABC and SLC transporters was evaluated using qRT-PCR arrays, while additional qRT-PCR primers were designed to assess the expression of POT members. The transport kinetics of mannitol and urea were utilized to quantitatively estimate the intercellular pore radius, while POT substrate transport was also determined to assess the suitability of the cell model from a drug screening perspective. Optimization of the cell line was attempted by culturing with on laminin and fibronectin enhanced collagen and in the presence of excess Ca2+. hCMEC/D3 cells express both hPHT1 and hPHT2, while little to no expression of either hPepT1 or hPepT2 was observed. The relative expression of other ABC and SLC transporters is discussed. While POT substrate transport does suggest suitability for BBB drug permeation screening, the relative intercellular pore radius was estimated at 19 Å, significantly larger than that approximated in vivo. Culturing with extracellular matrix proteins did not alter mannitol permeability. These studies characterized this relevant human hCMEC/D3 BBB cell line with respect to both the relative mRNA expression of various ABC and SLC transporters and its potential utility as an in vitro screening tool for brain permeation. Additional studies are required to adequately determine the potential to establish an in vivo correlation.

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