Characterization of uptake of folates by rat and human blood-brain barrier endothelial cells

Department of Biochemistry (U38-FCT), Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
BioFactors (Impact Factor: 4.59). 05/2010; 36(3):201-9. DOI: 10.1002/biof.82
Source: PubMed


This study aimed to characterize (3)H-folic acid ((3)H-FA) and (14)C-methyltetrahydrofolic acid ((14)C-MTHF) uptake by rat (RBE4) and human (hCMEC/D3) blood-brain barrier (BBB) endothelial cell lines. Uptake of (3)H-FA and (14)C-MTHF by RBE4 cells was time dependent and linear for the first 2 min of incubation; uptake by hCMEC/D3 cells showed a less marked time-dependency and a greater experimental variability. So, further experiments were performed in RBE4 cells only. Uptake of (3)H-FA was stimulated at acidic and alkaline pH, Na(+) dependent, stimulated when F(-) substituted for Cl(-), energy independent, inhibited by premetrexed, stimulated by cytochalasin D, and unaffected by MTHF, DIDS, SITS, methotrexate, monensin, and FA. Uptake of (14)C-MTHF was found to be pH-, Na(+)-, Cl(-)- and energy independent, inhibited by premetrexed and methotrexate, stimulated by cytochalasin D, and unaffected by FA, DIDS, SITS, monensin, and MTHF. RT-PCR analysis showed mRNA expression of reduced folate transporter (RFC), but neither of FRalpha nor of proton-coupled folate transporter (PCFT) in RBE4 cells, and mRNA expression of RFC and PCFT, but not of FRalpha, in hCMEC/D3 cells. In conclusion, both human and rat BBB endothelial cells show little capacity for (3)H-FA and (14)C-MTHF apical uptake. Hence, these cell lines do not appear to be a good model to study the transport of folates at the BBB.

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