Proteomic Quantification of Human Blood-Brain Barrier SLC and ABC Transporters in Healthy Individuals and Dementia Patients

Zubida Al-Majdoub, Hajar Al Feteisi, Brahim Achour, Stacey Warwood, Sibylle Neuhoff, Amin Rostami-Hodjegan, Jill Barber

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The Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB) maintains brain homeostasis by controlling traffic of molecules from the circulation into the brain. This function is predominantly dependent on proteins expressed at the BBB, especially transporters and tight junction proteins. Alterations to the level and function of BBB proteins can impact on the susceptibility of the central nervous system to exposure to xenobiotics in the systemic circulation with potential consequent effects on brain function. In this study, expression profiles of drug transporters and solute carriers in the BBB were assessed in tissues from healthy individuals (n=12), Alzheimer’s patients (n=5) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies patients (n=5), using targeted, AMRT (Accurate Mass Retention Time) and global proteomic methods. A total of 66 transporters were quantified, 19 for the first time in the BBB. A further 20 novel transporters were identified but not quantified. The global proteomic method identified another 3333 BBB proteins. Transporter abundances, taken together with the scaling factor microvessel protein content per unit tissue (BMvPGB also measured here) can be used in quantitative systems pharmacology models predicting drug disposition in the brain and permitting dose adjustment (precision dosing) in special populations of patients, such as those with dementia. Even in this small study, we see differences in transporter profile between healthy and diseased brain tissue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1233
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number3
Early online date8 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2019


  • Alzheimer's disease (AD)
  • blood-brain barrier (BBB)
  • dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
  • solute carrier (SLC) and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters


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