Vascular and extravascular distribution of the ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCB1 and ABCC1 in aged human brain and pituitary

Hans Gert Bernstein*, Gloria Hölzl, Henrik Dobrowolny, Jens Hildebrandt, Kurt Trübner, Markus Krohn, Bernhard Bogerts, Jens Pahnke

*Corresponding author for this work
27 Citations (Scopus)


ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play an increasing role in the understanding of pathologic peptide deposition in neurodegenerative diseases (NDs), such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. To describe the location of the most important ABC transporters for NDs in human brain tissue, we investigated ABCB1 and ABCC1 immunohistologically in the adult human brain and pituitary. Both transporters have similar but not identical expression patterns. In brain regions with an established blood-brain barrier (BBB), ABCB1 and ABCC1 were ubiquitously expressed in endothelial cells of the microvasculature and in a subset of larger blood vessels (mostly venules). Remarkably, both transporters were also found in fenestrated capillaries in circumventricular organs where the BBB is absent. Moreover, ABCB1 and ABCC1 were also expressed in various non-endothelia cells such as pericytes, astrocytes, choroid plexus epithelia, ventricle ependymal cells, and neurons. With regard to their neuronal expression it was shown that both transporters are located in specific nerve cell populations, which are also immunopositive for three putative cell markers of purinergic cell signalling, namely 5'-nucleotidase, adenosine deaminase and nucleoside triphosphate diphosphohydrolase-2. Therefore, we speculate that neuronal expression of ABCB1 and ABCC1 might be linked to adenosinergic/purinergic neuromodulation. Lastly, both transporters were observed in multiple adenohypophyseal cells.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 10.09.2014

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Vascular and extravascular distribution of the ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCB1 and ABCC1 in aged human brain and pituitary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this