To assess the transmucosal drug transport in the development of medications for intranasal administration, cellular in vitro models are preferred over the use of animal tissues due to inter-species variations and ethical concerns. With regard to the distribution of active agents and multidrug resistance, the ABC transporter P-glycoprotein plays a major role in several mammalian tissues. The present study compares the expression of this efflux pump in optimized in vitro models based on the human RPMI 2650 cell line with specimens of human turbinate mucosa. The presence of the ABCB1 gene was investigated at the mRNA and protein levels using RT-PCR and Western blot analysis in differently cultured RPMI 2650 cells and excised human nasal epithelium. Furthermore, the localization and activity of P-gp was examined by immunohistochemical staining and functionality assays using different substrates in both in vitro and ex vivo models. Both mRNA and protein expression of P-gp was found in all studied models. Furthermore, transporter functionality was detected in both RPMI 2650 cell culture models and excised human mucosa. The results demonstrated a highly promising comparability between RPMI 2650 models and explants of human nasal tissue concerning the influence of MDR1 on drug disposition. The RPMI 2650 cell line might become a useful tool in preclinical trials to improve reproducibility and achieve greater applicability to humans of experimental data regarding passive diffusion and active efflux of drug candidates.