Freshly isolated retinal capillaries to determine efflux transporter function at the inner BRB

Kosuke Tajima, Shin ichi Akanuma, Yuki Ohishi, Yukiko Yoshida, Björn Bauer, Yoshiyuki Kubo, Masahiko Inouye, Ken ichi Hosoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Since it has been known that in vitro cell lines for analyzing drug transport at the inner blood-retinal barrier (BRB) do not completely retain several in vivo functions, new ex vivo/in vitro methods to evaluate drug transport across the inner BRB help us understand the role of this barrier in maintaining the homeostasis of vision and regulating drug distribution to the retina. To expand the limitations of existing in vitro approaches, we established a protocol to isolate fresh rat retinal capillaries as ex vivo model of the inner BRB. Fresh retinal capillaries were prepared by applying serial filtration steps and using density gradient centrifugation. We performed mRNA and protein analyses by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunostaining that indicated expression of marker proteins such as facilitative glucose transporter 1 and claudin-5 in freshly isolated rat retinal capillaries. We also used fluorescent transporter substrates to characterize functional activity of organic anion transporter (Oat) 3, P-glycoprotein (P-gp), breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp), and multidrug resistance-associated protein (Mrp) 4 in isolated retinal capillaries. Capillary luminal accumulation of fluorescent substrates of P-glycoprotein and Bcrp was decreased in the presence of transporter inhibitors. Moreover, luminal accumulation of the Oat3 and Mrp4 substrate, 8-(2-[fluoresceinyl]aminoethylthio) adenosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate (8-[fluo]-cAMP), was reduced by substrates/inhibitors of Oat3 and Mrp4. In conclusion, our study shows that freshly isolated retinal capillaries retain marker protein expression and transporter functional activity. It is suggested that isolated retinal capillaries are a useful tool to study transport across the inner BRB. Using freshly isolated retinal capillaries, we anticipate applying this approach to determine the role of transporters at the inner BRB during pathophysiological states of the eye and evaluate the drug delivery to the retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Breast cancer resistance protein
  • Inner blood-retinal barrier
  • Multidrug resistance-associated protein
  • P-glycoprotein
  • Retinal capillaries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Freshly isolated retinal capillaries to determine efflux transporter function at the inner BRB'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this