The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters P-glycoprotein (MDR1/ABCB1), multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (MRP1/ABCC1), and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2) play a crucial role in the translocation of a broad range of drugs; data about their expression and activity in lung tissue are controversial. Here, we address their expression, localization and function in EpiAirway™, a three-dimensional (3D)-model of human airways; Calu-3 cells, a representative in vitro model of bronchial epithelium, are used for comparison. Transporter expression has been evaluated with RT-qPCR and Western blot, the localization with immunocytochemistry, and the activity by measuring the apical-to-basolateral and basolateral-to-apical fluxes of specific substrates in the presence of inhibitors. EpiAirway™ and Calu-3 cells express high levels of MRP1 on the basolateral membrane, while they profoundly differ in terms of BCRP and MDR1: BCRP is detected in EpiAirway™, but not in Calu-3 cells, while MDR1 is expressed and functional only in fully-differentiated Calu-3; in EpiAirway™, MDR1 expression and activity are undetectable, consistently with the absence of the protein in specimens from human healthy bronchi. In summary, EpiAirway™ appears to be a promising tool to study the mechanisms of drug delivery in the bronchial epithelium and to clarify the role of ABC transporters in the modulation of the bioavailability of administered drugs.
Characterization of ABC transporters in epiairway™, a cellular model of normal human bronchial epithelium / Rotoli, B. M.; Barilli, A.; Visigalli, R.; Ferrari, F.; Frati, C.; Lagrasta, C. A.; Di Lascia, M.; Riccardi, B.; Puccini, P.; Dall'asta, V.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - 21:9(2020), p. 3190. [10.3390/ijms21093190]
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