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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2013 Mar;33(3):381-8. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2012.174. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Mrp1 is essential for sphingolipid signaling to p-glycoprotein in mouse blood-brain and blood-spinal cord barriers.

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Laboratory of Toxicology and Pharmacology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


At the blood-brain and blood-spinal cord barriers, P-glycoprotein, an ATP-driven drug efflux pump, is a major obstacle to central nervous system (CNS) pharmacotherapy. Recently, we showed that signaling through tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), sphingolipids, and sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) rapidly and reversibly reduced basal P-glycoprotein transport activity in the rat blood-brain barrier. The present study extends those findings to the mouse blood-brain and blood-spinal cord barriers and, importantly, identifies multidrug resistance-associated protein 1 (Mrp1, Abcc1) as the transporter that mediates S1P efflux from brain and spinal cord endothelial cells. In brain and spinal cord capillaries isolated from wild-type mice, TNF-α, sphingosine, S1P, the S1PR agonist fingolimod (FTY720), and its active, phosphorylated metabolite, FTY720P, reduced P-glycoprotein transport activity; these effects were abolished by a specific S1PR1 antagonist. In brain and spinal cord capillaries isolated from Mrp1-null mice, neither TNF-α nor sphingosine nor FTY720 reduced P-glycoprotein transport activity. However, S1P and FTY720P had the same S1PR1-dependent effects on transport activity as in capillaries from wild-type mice. Thus, deletion of Mrp1 alone terminated endogenous signaling to S1PR1. These results identify Mrp1 as the transporter essential for S1P efflux from the endothelial cells and thus for inside-out S1P signaling to P-glycoprotein at the blood-brain and blood-spinal cord barriers.

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