Rifampicin Induces Gene, Protein, and Activity of P-Glycoprotein (ABCB1) in Human Precision-Cut Intestinal Slices

Ondrej Martinec, Carin Biel, Inge A.M. de Graaf, Martin Huliciak, Koert P. de Jong, Frantisek Staud, Filip Cecka, Peter Olinga, Ivan Vokral*, Lukas Cerveny

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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P-glycoprotein (ABCB1), an ATP-binding cassette efflux transporter, limits intestinal absorption of its substrates and is a common site of drug–drug interactions. Drug-mediated induction of intestinal ABCB1 is a clinically relevant phenomenon associated with significantly decreased drug bioavailability. Currently, there are no well-established human models for evaluating its induction, so drug regulatory authorities provide no recommendations for in vitro/ex vivo testing drugs’ ABCB1-inducing activity. Human precision-cut intestinal slices (hPCISs) contain cells in their natural environment and express physiological levels of nuclear factors required for ABCB1 induction. We found that hPCISs incubated in William’s Medium E for 48 h maintained intact morphology, ATP content, and ABCB1 efflux activity. Here, we asked whether rifampicin (a model ligand of pregnane X receptor, PXR), at 30 μM, induces functional expression of ABCB1 in hPCISs over 24- and 48-h incubation (the time to allow complete induction to occur). Rifampicin significantly increased gene expression, protein levels, and efflux activity of ABCB1. Moreover, we described dynamic changes in ABCB1 transcript levels in hPCISs over 48 h incubation. We also observed that peaks of induction are achieved among donors at different times, and the extent of ABCB1 gene induction is proportional to PXR mRNA levels in the intestine. In conclusion, we showed that hPCISs incubated in conditions comparable to those used for inhibition studies can be used to evaluate drugs’ ABCB1-inducing potency in the human intestine. Thus, hPCISs may be valuable experimental tools that can be prospectively used in complex experimental evaluation of drug–drug interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number684156
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 9-Jun-2021


  • induction
  • P-glycoprotein (ABCB1 protein)
  • human precision-cut intestinal slices
  • rifampicin
  • absorption
  • pregnane X receptor
  • CACO-2

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