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Neurosteroid Transport in the Brain: Role of ABC and SLC Transporters

  • Neurosteroids, comprising pregnane, androstane, and sulfated steroids can alter neuronal excitability through interaction with ligand-gated ion channels and other receptors and have therefore a therapeutic potential in several brain disorders. They can be formed in brain cells or are synthesized by an endocrine gland and reach the brain by penetrating the blood–brain barrier (BBB). Especially sulfated steroids such as pregnenolone sulfate (PregS) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) depend on transporter proteins to cross membranes. In this review, we discuss the involvement of ATP-binding cassette (ABC)- and solute carrier (SLC)-type membrane proteins in the transport of these compounds at the BBB and in the choroid plexus (CP), but also in the secretion from neurons and glial cells. Among the ABC transporters, especially BCRP (ABCG2) and several MRP/ABCC subfamily members (MRP1, MRP4, MRP8) are expressed in the brain and known to efflux conjugated steroids. Furthermore, several SLC transporters have been shown to mediate cellular uptake of steroid sulfates. These include members of the OATP/SLCO subfamily, namely OATP1A2 and OATP2B1, as well as OAT3 (SLC22A3), which have been reported to be expressed at the BBB, in the CP and in part in neurons. Furthermore, a role of the organic solute transporter OSTα-OSTβ (SLC51A/B) in brain DHEAS/PregS homeostasis has been proposed. This transporter was reported to be localized especially in steroidogenic cells of the cerebellum and hippocampus. To date, the impact of transporters on neurosteroid homeostasis is still poorly understood. Further insights are desirable also with regard to the therapeutic potential of these compounds.

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Author: Markus Grube, Paul Hagen, Gabriele Jedlitschky
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Pharmacology
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
Document Type:Article
Date of first Publication:2018/04/11
Release Date:2020/10/08
Tag:ATP-binding cassette transporters; DHEAS; blood–brain barrier; dehydroepiandrosterone; neuroactive steroids; pregnenolone sulfate; solute carriers
GND Keyword:-
Faculties:Universitätsmedizin / Institut für Pharmakologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung