The objective of this study is to investigate the regulation of BCRP functional expression by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα), a ligand-activated transcription factor primarily involved in lipid metabolism, in a cerebral microvascular endothelial cell culture system (hCMEC/D3), representative of human BBB. We demonstrate that PPARα-selective ligands (i.e., clofibrate, GW7647) significantly induce BCRP mRNA and protein expression in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, whereas pharmacological inhibitors (i.e., MK886, GW6471) prevent this induction.
Using [(3)H]mitoxantrone, an established BCRP substrate, we observe a significant reduction in its cellular accumulation by monolayer cells treated with clofibrate, suggesting increased BCRP efflux activity.
In addition, we show a significant decrease in BCRP protein expression and function when PPARα is down-regulated by small interfering RNA. Applying chromatin immunoprecipitation and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, we observe that clofibrate treatment increases PPARα binding to the peroxisome proliferator response element within the ABCG2 gene promoter.
This study provides the first evidence of direct BCRP regulation by PPARα in a human in vitro BBB model and suggests new targeting strategies for either improving drug brain bioavailability or increasing neuroprotection.