Characterization of functional assays of multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein transport activity

I. Bosch, C. L. Crankshaw, D. Piwnica-Worms, J. M. Croop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations


P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance has emerged as one of the most attractive targets to improve anticancer therapy. The P-glycoprotein functions as an energy-dependent, membrane transport pump capable of decreasing the intracellular concentration of a broad range of chemotherapeutic agents. Pharmaceuticals which inhibit P-glycoprotein transport activity are currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Characterization of P-glycoprotein functional activity is critical in determining if these multidrug resistance reversal agents improve therapeutic responses of tumors expressing P-glycoprotein. In this report, we directly compare and characterize assays using rhodamine 123, dimethyloxadicarbocyanine iodide (DiOC2), [3H]daunorubicin and hexakis(2-methoxyisobutyl isonitrile)technetium(I) ([99mTc]Sestamibi) as P-glycoprotein transport probes to quantitate functional activity. The accumulation of certain substrates is concentration dependent and the parameters which determine probe accumulation are impacted by the level of P-glycoprotein expression. In addition, higher concentrations of reversal agents are required to inhibit multidrug resistance in cell lines expressing higher levels of P-glycoprotein. Furthermore, the concentration of reversal agents required to inhibit completely P-glycoprotein transport activity is higher than generally recognized. Thus, the level of P-glycoprotein expression may confound intersample comparisons unless sensitive probes are used in combination with saturating concentrations of potent reversal agents. These results highlight the importance of carefully characterizing assay systems under uniform conditions to quantitate P-glycoprotein function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1131-1137
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • MDR
  • Multidrug resistance
  • P-glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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