Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines

Valeria Feinshtein, Offer Erez, Zvi Ben-Zvi, Noam Erez, Tamar Eshkoli, Boaz Sheizaf, Eyal Sheiner, Mahmud Huleihel, Gershon Holcberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Objectives.Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy.Due to high lipophilicity, cannabinoids can easily penetrate physiological barriers like the human placenta and jeopardize the developing fetus.We evaluated the impact of cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychoactive cannabinoid, on P-glycoprotein(P-gp) and Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) expression, and P-gp function ina placental model, BeWo and Jar choriocarcinoma cell lines (using P-gp induced MCF7 cells (MCF7/P-gp) for comparison). Study design. Following the establishment of the basal expression of these transporters in the membrane fraction of all three cell lines, P-gp and BCRP protein and mRNA levels were determined following chronic(24-72 h) exposure to CBD, by Western Blot and qPCR. CBD impact on P-gp efflux function was examined by uptake of specific P-gp fluorescent substrates (calcein-AM, DiOC2(3) and rhodamine123( rh123)). Cyclosporine A (CsA) served as a positive control. Results. Chronic exposure to CBD resulted in significant changes in the protein and mRNA levels of both transporters. While P-gp was down-regulated, BCRP levels were up-regulated in the choriocarcinoma cell lines. CBD had a remarkably different influence on P-gp and BCRP expression in MCF7/P-gp cells, demonstrating that these are cell type specific effects. P-gp dependent efflux (of calcein, DiOC2(3) and rh123) was inhibited upon short-termexposure to CBD. Conclusions. Our studyshows that CBD might alter P-gp and BCRP expression in the human placenta, and inhibitP-gp efflux function.We conclude that marijuana use during pregnancy may reduce placental protective functions and change its morphological and physiological characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere153
Issue number1
StatePublished - 14 Oct 2013


  • BeWo and Jar cells
  • Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP)
  • Cannabidiol
  • Human placenta
  • Marijuana
  • P-glycoprotein (P-gp)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cannabidiol changes P-gp and BCRP expression in trophoblast cell lines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this