Inflammatory regulation of ATP binding cassette efflux transporter expression and function in microglia

Christopher J. Gibson, Muhammad M. Hossain, Jason R. Richardson, Lauren M. Aleksunes

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41 Scopus citations


ATP-binding cassette (ABC) efflux transporters, including multidrug resistance protein 1 (Mdr1), breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp), and multidrug resistance-associated proteins (Mrps) extrude chemicals from the brain. Although ABC transporters are critical for blood-brain barrier integrity, less attention has been placed on the regulation of these proteins in brain parenchymal cells such as microglia. Prior studies demonstrate that inflammation after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment alters transporter expression in the livers of mice. Here, we sought to determine the effects of inflammation on the expression and function of transporters in microglia. To test this, the expression and function of ABC efflux transport proteins were quantified in mouse BV-2 microglial cells in response to activation with LPS. Intracellular retention of fluorescent rhodamine 123, Hoechst 33342, and calcein acetoxymethyl ester was increased in LPS-treated microglia, suggesting that the functions of Mdr1, Bcrp, and Mrps were decreased, respectively. LPS reduced Mdr1, Bcrp, and Mrp4 mRNA and protein expression between 40 and 70%. Conversely, LPS increased expression of Mrp1 and Mrp5 mRNA and protein. Immunofluorescent staining confirmed reduced Bcrp and Mrp4 and elevated Mrp1 and Mrp5 protein in activated microglia. Pharmacological inhibition of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) transcriptional signaling attenuated down-regulation of Mdr1a mRNA and potentiated up-regulation of Mrp5 mRNA in LPS-treated cells. Together, these data suggest that LPS stimulates microglia and impairs efflux of prototypical ABC transporter substrates by altering mRNA and protein expression, in part through NF-κB signaling. Decreased transporter efflux function in microglia may lead to the retention of toxic chemicals and aberrant cell-cell communication during neuroinflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)650-660
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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