• RBE-4 cells;
  • blood-brain barrier;
  • L-DOPA uptake;
  • Ca2+/calmodulin

The present study examined the involvement of protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase G (PKG), protein kinase C (PKC), protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) and Ca2+/calmodulin mediated pathways on the luminal uptake of L-DOPA through the L-type amino acid transporter in immortalized rat capillary cerebral endothelial (REB-4) cells. Non-linear analysis of the saturation curve for L-DOPA revealed a Kmvalue (in μM) of 71±9 and a Vmaxvalue of 17±1 (in nmol mg protein/6min). L-DOPA uptake at the luminal cell border was a sodium-independent process and insensitive to N-(methylamino)-isobutyric acid (MeAIB, 1m m), but sensitive to 2-aminobicyclo(2,2,1)-heptane-2-carboxylic acid (BHC, IC50=140μm). The Ca2+/calmodulin inhibitors calmidazolium and trifluoperazine inhibited L-DOPA (2.5μm) uptake with IC50s of 23 and 33μm, respectively. The inhibitory effect of BHC on the accumulation of L-DOPA was of the competitive type, whereas that of calmidazolium and trifluoperazine was of the non-competitive type. Modulators of PKA (cyclic AMP, forskolin, isobutylmethylxanthine and cholera toxin), PKG (cyclic GMP, zaprinast, LY 83583 and sodium nitroprusside), PKC (phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate, staurosporine and chelerythrine) and PTK (genistein and tyrphostin 25) failed to affect the accumulation of a non-saturating (2.5μm) concentration of L-DOPA. It is concluded that L-DOPA uptake in RBE-4 cells is promoted through the L-type amino acid transporter and appears to be under the control of calmodulin mediated pathways.