The blood-brain barrier (BBB) not only impedes the influx of intravascular substances from blood to brain, but also promotes transport of substances from blood to brain or from brain to blood through several transport systems such as carrier-mediated transport, active efflux transport, and receptor-mediated transport systems. The multidrug resistance transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is an ATP-dependent efflux pump and contributes to efflux of undesirable substances such as amyloid-β (Aβ) proteins from the brain into the blood as well as many drugs such as anti-cancer drugs. The inhibition of P-gp has favorable and unfavorable effects on living bodies. P-gp deficiency at the BBB induces the increase of Aβ deposition in the brain of an Alzheimer disease mouse model. It is also known that the Aβ deposition is inversely correlated with P-gp expression in the brains of elderly non-demented humans. However, the transient inhibition of P-gp by antidepressants enables medicines such as anti-cancer drugs to enter the brain. Concerning Aβ clearance in the brain, the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) is a major efflux transporter for Aβ, while the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE) is a major influx transporter for Aβ across the BBB. Dysfunction of the BBB with efflux and influx transporters may contribute to the pathogenesis of some degenerative neuronal disorders. This review will focus on several transporters and discuss how medicines pass the BBB to reach the brain parenchyma.
Keywords: Aβ, BBB, LRP1, P-gp, RAGE
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