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We recently showed that absence of mdr1-type P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in mice resulted in profoundly reduced hepatic and intestinal clearance of type 1 and type 2 cationic drugs compared with that in wild-type mice. These data strongly support the concept that mdr1-type P-gps are involved in the disposition of cationic amphiphilic drugs from the body. We tested the hypothesis that mdr1-type P-gps are involved in the transmembrane transport of organic cations in epithelial cells expressing various drug-transporting P-gps. Therefore, transepithelial transport of the P-gp substrate vinblastine, the steroidal (type 2) cation vecuronium, the relatively small (type 1) cationic compound azidoprocainamide methoiodide and the aliphatic cation tri-n-butylmethylammonium were measured. Apical expression of the mdr1a, mdr1b or MDR1 gene in confluently grown polarized transformed LLC-PK1 cells resulted in highly enhanced apical directed secretion of all the drugs tested compared with controls. The vectorial transport of tri-n-butylmethylammonium in the apical direction in the P-gp (over)expressing cells could be inhibited by vinblastine. The present observations show that apical secretion of type 1 as well as of type 2 organic cations is enhanced significantly in the presence of apical expressed mdr1-type P-gp. These findings provide evidence for the involvement of drug-transporting P-gp in transmembrane transport of various organic cations, including relatively small molecular weight aromatic and aliphatic compounds.


J W Smit, B Weert, A H Schinkel, D K Meijer. Heterologous expression of various P-glycoproteins in polarized epithelial cells induces directional transport of small (type 1) and bulky (type 2) cationic drugs. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 1998 Jul;286(1):321-7

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PMID: 9655875

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