Bioluminescent imaging of ABCG2 efflux activity at the blood-placenta barrier.

Paradigms and Technologies
Methods Development


Physiologic barriers such as the blood placenta barrier (BPB) and the blood brain barrier protect the underlying parenchyma from pathogens and toxins. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are transmembrane proteins found at these barriers, and function to efflux xenobiotics and maintain chemical homeostasis. Despite the plethora of ex vivo and in vitro data showing the function and expression of ABC transporters, no imaging modality exists to study ABC transporter activity in vivo at the BPB. In the present study, we show that in vitro models of the placenta possess ABCG2 activity and can specifically transport D-luciferin, the endogenous substrate of firefly luciferase. To test ABCG2 transport activity at the BPB, we devised a breeding strategy to generate a bioluminescent pregnant mouse model to demonstrate transporter function in vivo. We found that coadministering the ABCG2 inhibitors Ko143 and gefitinib with D-luciferin increased bioluminescent signal from fetuses and placentae, whereas the control P-gp inhibitor DCPQ had no effect. We believe that our bioluminescent pregnant mouse model will facilitate greater understanding of the BPB and ABCG2 activity in health and disease.


Kumar, Jeyan S; Wei, Bih-Rong; Madigan, James P; Simpson, R Mark; Hall, Matthew; Gottesman, Michael M;

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