The low bioavailability of genistein has impeded its development into a therapeutic agent. Our earlier studies indicate that glucuronidation is one of the major barriers to genistein oral bioavailability. This study will determine how sulfotransferases and efflux transporters affect its intestinal disposition. A rodent intestinal perfusion model and S9 fractions were used. Sulfate excretion rates were comparable to glucuronide excretion in mouse small intestine but significantly higher than glucuronide excretion in mouse colon, which is different from rat intestinal disposition but similar to disposition in Caco-2 cells. To define efflux transporter(s) involved in sulfate excretion, two organic anion inhibitors (estrone sulfate and dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate) or a multidrug resistance protein inhibitor (MK-571) were used but neither was able to decrease the excretion of genistein sulfates. In contrast, the excretion of genistein sulfate decreased substantially (>90%) in small intestine of breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) knockout mice and became undetectable in colon of the knockout mice. The excretion rates of genistein glucuronide in the small intestine of BCRP knockout mice were also significant decreased (78%). This study shows clearly that BCRP facilitates the cellular genistein sulfate excretion by removing sulfates to prevent their backward hydrolysis and to limit substrate inhibition, indicating that BCRP plays a dominant role in genistein sulfate excretion and a significant role in genistein glucuronide excretion in the mouse intestine.
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