01/12/2009 - Role of transporters in bioavailability of nutraceuticals and in risk assessement of environmental toxicants

Berry anthocyanins and anthocyanidins exhibit distinct affinities for the efflux transporters BCRP and MDR1

Dreiseitel A, Oosterhuis B, Vukman KV, Schreier P, Oehme A, Locher S, Hajak G, Sand PG

Br J Pharmacol. 2009 Dec;158(8):1942-50.



Dietary anthocyanins hold great promise in the prevention of chronic disease but factors affecting their bioavailability remain poorly defined. Specifically, the role played by transport mechanisms at the intestinal and blood-brain barriers (BBB) is currently unknown.


In the present study, 16 anthocyanins and anthocyanidins were exposed to the human efflux transporters multidrug resistance protein 1 (MDR1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP), using dye efflux, ATPase and, for BCRP, vesicular transport assays.


All test compounds interacted with the BCRP transporter in vitro. Of these, seven emerged as potential BCRP substrates (malvidin, petunidin, malvidin-3-galactoside, malvidin-3,5-diglucoside, cyanidin-3-galactoside, peonidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-glucoside) and 12 as potential inhibitors of BCRP (cyanidin, peonidin, cyanidin-3,5-diglucoside, malvidin, pelargonidin, delphinidin, petunidin, delphinidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-rutinoside, malvidin-3-glucoside, pelargonidin-3,5-diglucoside, malvidin-3-galactoside). Malvidin, malvidin-3-galactoside and petunidin exhibited bimodal activities serving as BCRP substrates at low concentrations and, at higher concentrations, as BCRP inhibitors. Effects on MDR1, in contrast, were weak. Only aglycones exerted mild inhibitory activity.


Although the anthocyanidins under study may alter pharmacokinetics of drugs that are BCRP substrates, they are less likely to interfere with activities of MDR1 substrates. The present data suggest that several anthocyanins and anthocyanidins may be actively transported out of intestinal tissues and endothelia, limiting their bioavailability in plasma and brain.

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