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Pharm Res. 2000 Jan;17(1):55-62.

Functional clarification of MCT1-mediated transport of monocarboxylic acids at the blood-brain barrier using in vitro cultured cells and in vivo BUI studies.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kanazawa University, Japan.



To prove the functional significance of monocarboxylic acid transporter, MCT1 at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) for the passage of both endogenous and exogenous monocarboxylic acids into the central nervous system.


Monocarboxylic acid transport at the BBB was studied in rats by using a newly established immortalized brain capillary endothelial cell (BCEC) line, RBEC1, and the results were compared with those obtained by using primary cultured BCECs, cells stably expressed with rat MCT1, and the in vivo brain uptake index (BUI) method.


The cell line, RBEC1 meets various morphological and enzymatic criteria of BCECs and appears to be suitable for the study of BBB transport of monocarboxylic acids. The presence of MCT1-transcript in RBEC1 was confirmnned by the RT-PCR method, as previously observed in isolated brain capillaries. A typical substrate of MCT1, lactic acid, was taken up by RBEC1 in a stereospecific and saturable manner. The value of the kinetic parameter Km showed good agreement with values previously obtained in studies using an in vivo BUI and in vitro MCT1-transfected cells. An organic weak acid, benzoic acid, which has been considered to cross biological membranes by passive diffusion, exhibited carrier-mediated transport properties, such as saturation, pH dependence, and stereospecific inhibition in RBEC1, similar to those we observed in primary cultured rat BCECs. The Km values in RBEC1, in primary cultured BCECs and in the in vivo BUI method were comparable and well agreed with that obtained in MCT1-transfected cells, suggesting that the transport features of benzoic acid observed by in vitro methods well reflect the in vivo transport activity. Furthermore, hybrid depletion of MCT1 in RBEC1 using an antisense oligonucleotide against rat MCT1 abolished the saturable transport of benzoic acid.


These observations show that MCT1 plays a significant role in the transport of monocarboxylic acids, including the exogenous organic weak acid benzoic acid, as well as native lactic acid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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