Send to

Choose Destination
Epilepsia. 2010 Aug;51(8):1408-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02428.x. Epub 2010 Jan 13.

Pattern of P450 expression at the human blood-brain barrier: roles of epileptic condition and laminar flow.

Author information

Department of Cerebrovascular Research, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.



P450 enzymes (CYPs) play a major role in hepatic drug metabolism. It is unclear whether these enzymes are functionally expressed by the diseased human blood-brain barrier (BBB) and are involved in local drug metabolism or response. We have evaluated the cerebrovascular CYP expression and function, hypothesizing possible implication in drug-resistant epilepsy.


CYP P450 transcript levels were assessed by cDNA microarray in primary endothelial cultures established from a cohort of brain resections (n = 12, drug-resistant epilepsy EPI-EC and aneurism domes ANE-EC). A human brain endothelial cell line (HBMEC) and non-brain endothelial cell line (HUVEC) were used as controls. The effect of exposure to shear stress on CYP expression was evaluated. Results were confirmed by Western blot and immunohistochemistry on brain specimens. Endothelial drug metabolism was assessed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC-UV).


cDNA microarray showed the presence of CYP enzymes in isolated human primary brain endothelial cells. Using EPI-EC and HBMEC we found that CYP mRNA levels were significantly affected by exposure to shear stress. CYP3A4 protein was overexpressed in EPI-EC (290 ± 30%) compared to HBMEC and further upregulated by shear stress exposure. CYP3A4 was increased in the vascular compartment at regions of reactive gliosis in the drug-resistant epileptic brain. Metabolism of carbamazepine was significantly elevated in EPI-EC compared to HBMEC.


These results support the hypothesis of local drug metabolism at the diseased BBB. The direct association between BBB CYP enzymes and the drug-resistant phenotype needs to be further investigated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center