A variant in the breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) gene, 421C> A is a useful biomarker for describing large inter-individual differences in the pharmacokinetics of sulfasalazine (SASP), a BCRP substrate. However, large intra-genotypic variability still exists in spite of the incorporation of this variant into the pharmacokinetics of SASP. Since miR-328 negatively regulates BCRP expression in human tissues, we hypothesized that exosomal miR-328 in plasma, which leaks from the intestines, is a possible biomarker for estimating BCRP activity in the human intestines. We established an immunoprecipitation-based quantitative method for circulating intestine-derived miR-328 in plasma using an anti-glycoprotein A33 antibody. A clinical study was conducted with an open-label, non-randomized, and single-arm design involving 33 healthy participants. Intestine-derived exosomal miR-328 levels positively correlated (P < 0.05) with SASP AUC 0-48, suggesting that subjects with high miR-328 levels have low intestinal BCRP activity, resulting in the high AUC of SASP. Circulating intestine-derived exosomal miR-328 in plasma has potential as a possible biomarker for estimating BCRP function in the human intestines.
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