ABC Multidrug Transporters: Target for Modulation of Drug Pharmacokinetics and Drug-Drug Interactions

Pharmacologie Cellulaire et moléculaire, Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université Catholique de Louvain, B- 1200 Brussels, Belgium.
Current drug targets (Impact Factor: 3.02). 11/2010; 12(5):600-20. DOI: 10.2174/138945011795378504
Source: PubMed


Nine proteins of the ABC superfamily (P-glycoprotein, 7 MRPs and BCRP) are involved in multidrug transport. Being localised at the surface of endothelial or epithelial cells, they expel drugs back to the external medium (if located at the apical side [P-glycoprotein, BCRP, MRP2, MRP4 in the kidney]) or to the blood (if located at the basolateral side [MRP1, MRP3, MRP4, MRP5]), modulating thereby their absorption, distribution, and elimination. In the CNS, most transporters are oriented to expel drugs to the blood. Transporters also cooperate with Phase I/Phase II metabolism enzymes by eliminating drug metabolites. Their major features are (i) their capacity to recognize drugs belonging to unrelated pharmacological classes, and (ii) their redundancy, a single molecule being possibly substrate for different transporters. This ensures an efficient protection of the body against invasion by xenobiotics. Competition for transport is now characterized as a mechanism of interaction between co-administered drugs, one molecule limiting the transport of the other, potentially affecting bioavailability, distribution, and/or elimination. Again, this mechanism reinforces drug interactions mediated by cytochrome P450 inhibition, as many substrates of P-glycoprotein and CYP3A4 are common. Induction of the expression of genes coding for MDR transporters is another mechanism of drug interaction, which could affect all drug substrates of the up-regulated transporter. Overexpression of MDR transporters confers resistance to anticancer agents and other therapies. All together, these data justify why studying drug active transport should be part of the evaluation of new drugs, as recently recommended by the FDA.

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