P-Glycoprotein (P-gp), the most extensively studied ATP-binding cassette transporter, functions as a biological barrier by extruding toxic substances and xenobiotics out of cells. Drug efflux pumps such as P-gp play a functional role in determining the pharmacokinetics of drugs administered by oral and parenteral routes. Determining the activity of drug efflux transport proteins has important implications in the identification of substrates and/or inhibitors. The significant role of the small intestine in reducing the oral bioavailability of drugs is due to metabolic enzymes and efflux transporters. The role of cytochrome P-450 3A (CYP3A) and P-gp in intestinal drug disposition has been highlighted. This review examines the structure, localisation and functional role of P-gp, the mechanism of drug efflux and drug-herb interactions.
©2010 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York