Luminal membranes of the vascular endothelium were isolated from brain, heart and lungs by modification of their density. The presence of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) was detected by Western blotting in luminal membranes from the endothelium of the three tissues. Strong enrichment in brain capillary luminal membranes, compared with brain capillaries (17-fold) and whole membranes (400–500-fold), indicates that P-gp is mainly located on the luminal side of the brain endothelium. Western blotting was also performed with antibodies directed against GLUT1, glial fibrillary acidic protein, adaptin, IP3R-3, integrins αv and collagen IV as controls to determine whether the preparations were contaminated by other membranes. Strong enrichment of GLUT1 in brain capillary luminal membranes (9.9-fold) showed that the preparation consisted mainly of endothelial cell plasma membranes. Poor enrichment of glial fibrillary acidic protein (1.4-fold) and adaptin (2.4-fold) and a decreased level of IP3R-3, integrins αv and collagen IV excludes the possibility of major contamination by astrocytes or internal and anti-luminal membranes. High levels of P-gp in the luminal membranes of brain capillary endothelial cells suggests that it may play an important role in limiting the access of anti-cancer drugs to the brain.

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