Calcein assay: A high-throughput method to assess P-gp inhibition

H. Glavinas, O. Von Richter, K. Vojnits, D. Mehn, I. Wilhelm, T. Nagy, J. Janossy, I. Krizbai, P. Couraud, P. Krajcsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Transporter mediated drug-drug interactions (tDDI) mediated by ABCB1 have been shown to be clinically relevant. Hence, the assessment of the ABCB1 tDDI potential early in the drug development process has gained interest. We have evaluated the Calcein assay as a means of assessing the ABCB1 tDDI that is amenable to high throughout and compared it with the monolayer efflux assay. We found the Calcein assay, when performed in K562MDR cells using the protocol originally published more sensitive than digoxin transport inhibition in MDCKII-MDR1 cells. Application of the Calcein assay to cell lines containing different amounts of ABCB1, yielded IC 50 values that varied 10-100-fold. The differences observed for IC 50 values for the same compounds were in the following rank order: IC 50, MDCKII-MDR1 >IC 50, K562MDR > IC 50, hCMEC/D3. Higher IC 50 values were obtained in cells with higher ABCB1 expression. The Calcein assay is a high-throughput alternative to digoxin transport inhibition as it appears to have a comparable selectivity but higher sensitivity than previously published digoxin transport inhibition in MDCKII-MDR1 cells. In addition, it can be performed in a barrier-specific manner highlighting the dependence of ABCB1 IC 50 values on different ABCB1 expression levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-719
Number of pages8
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2011


  • ABCB1
  • DDI
  • K562MDR
  • Transporter
  • hCMEC/D3
  • high-throughput

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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  • Cite this

    Glavinas, H., Von Richter, O., Vojnits, K., Mehn, D., Wilhelm, I., Nagy, T., Janossy, J., Krizbai, I., Couraud, P., & Krajcsi, P. (2011). Calcein assay: A high-throughput method to assess P-gp inhibition. Xenobiotica, 41(8), 712-719.