Expression and Function of ABC Transporters in Human Alveolar Epithelial Cells

Rossana Visigalli, Bianca Maria Rotoli, Francesca Ferrari, Maria Di Lascia, Benedetta Riccardi, Paola Puccini, Valeria Dall’Asta, and Amelia Barilli

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are a large superfamily of membrane transporters that facilitate the translocation of different substrates. While ABC transporters are clearly expressed in various tumor cells where they can play a role in drug extrusion, the presence of these transporters in normal lung tissues is still controversial. Here, we performed an analysis of ABC transporters in EpiAlveolarTM, a recently developed model of human alveoli, by defining the expression and activity of MDR1, BCRP, and MRPs. Immortalized primary epithelial cells hAELVi (human alveolar epithelial lentivirus-immortalized cells) were employed for comparison. Our data underline a close homology between these two models, where none of the ABC transporters here studied are expressed on the apical membrane and only MRP1 is clearly detectable and functional at the basolateral side. According to these findings, we can conclude that other thus-far-unidentified transporter/s involved in drug efflux from alveolar epithelium deserve investigations.


drug delivery, transporters, efflux

Materials Tested

mannitol, propranolol, Rhodamine 123, estrone-3-sulfate, Bodipy Prazosin, Febuxostat, Ko143, PSC833

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