The transepithelial transport mechanism of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in human intestine determined using a Caco-2 cell monolayer

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Oral ingestion plays an important role in human exposure to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The uptake of PBDEs primarily occurs in the small intestine. The aim of the present study is to investigate the transepithelial transport characteristics and mechanisms of PBDEs in the small intestine using a Caco-2 cell monolayer model. The apparent permeability coefficients of PBDEs indicated that tri- to hepta-BDEs were poorly absorbed compounds. A linear increase in transepithelial transport was observed with various concentrations of PBDEs, which suggested that passive diffusion dominated their transport at the concentration range tested. In addition, the pseudo-first-order kinetics equation can be applied to the transepithelial transport of PBDEs. The rate-determining step in transepithelial transport of PBDEs was trans-cell transport including the trans-pore process. The significantly lower transepithelial transport rates at low temperature for bidirectional transepithelial transport suggested that an energy-dependent transport mechanism was involved. The efflux transporters (P-glycoprotein, multidrug resistance-associated protein, and breast cancer resistance protein) and influx transporters (organic cation transporters) participated in the transepithelial transport of PBDEs. In addition, the transepithelial transport of PBDEs was pH sensitive; however, more information is required to understand the influence of pH.

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