Development and validation of an in-cell western for quantifying P-glycoprotein expression in human brain microvascular endothelial (hCMEC/D3) cells

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An in-cell western (ICW) protocol detecting the relative expression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in human cerebro-microvascular endothelial cells (hCMEC/D3) was developed and optimized, with the intention of improving throughput relative to western blotting (WB). For validation of the ICW protocol, hCMEC/D3 cells were incubated with known P-gp upregulators (10 μM rifampicin and 5 μM SR12813) and treated with siRNA targeted against MDR1, before measuring changes in P-gp expression, using both ICW and WB in parallel. To confirm a relationship between the detected P-gp expression and function, the uptake of the P-gp substrate rhodamine-123 was assessed following SR12813 treatment. Rifampicin and SR12813 significantly upregulated P-gp expression (1.5-fold and 1.9-fold, respectively) compared to control, as assessed by the ICW protocol. WB analysis of the same treatments revealed 1.4-fold and 1.5-fold upregulations. MDR1 siRNA reduced P-gp abundance by 20% and 35% when assessed by ICW and WB, respectively. SR12813 treatment reduced rhodamine-123 uptake by 18%, indicating that the observed changes in P-gp expression by ICW were associated with comparable functional changes. The correlation of P-gp upregulation by WB, rhodamine-123 uptake, and the ICW protocol provide validation of a new ICW method as an alternative method for quantification of P-gp in hCMEC/D3 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2614-2624
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • ABC transporters
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Cell culture
  • Drug resistance
  • Efflux pumps
  • Endothelial
  • Membrane transporter
  • P-glycoprotein

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