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P-glycoprotein (Pgp) is a transmembrane protein of 170 kD encoded by the multidrug resistance 1 (MDR-1) gene, localized on chromosome 7. More than 50 polymorphisms of the MDR-1 gene have been described; a subset of these has been shown to play a pathophysiological role in the development of inflammatory bowel disease, femoral head osteonecrosis induced by steroids, lung cancer and renal epithelial tumors. Polymorphisms that have a protective effect on the development of conditions such as Parkinson disease have also been identified. P-glycoprotein belongs to the adenosine triphosphate binding cassette transporter superfamily and its structure comprises a chain of approximately 1280 aminoacid residues with an N-C terminal structure, arranged as 2 homologous halves, each of which has 6 transmembrane segments, with a total of 12 segments with 2 cytoplasmic nucleotide binding domains. Many cytokines like interleukin 2 and tumor necrosis factor alpha increase Pgp expression and activity. Pgp functions as an efflux pump for a variety of toxins in order to protect particular organs and tissues as the central nervous system. Pgp transports a variety of substrates including glucocorticoids while other drugs such as tacrolimus and cyclosporine A act as modulators of this protein. The most widely used method to measure Pgp activity is flow cytometry using naturally fluorescent substrates such as anthracyclines or rhodamine 123. The study of drug resistance and its association to Pgp began with the study of resistance to chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer and antiretroviral therapy for human immunodeficiency virus; however, the role of Pgp in the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis has been a focus of study lately and has emerged as an important mechanism by which treatment failure occurs. The present review analyzes the role of Pgp in these autoimmune diseases. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


M García-Carrasco, C Mendoza-Pinto, S Macias Díaz, M Vera-Recabarren, L Vázquez de Lara, S Méndez Martínez, P Soto-Santillán, R González-Ramírez, A Ruiz-Arguelles. P-glycoprotein in autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Autoimmunity reviews. 2015 Jul;14(7):594-600

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PMID: 25712147

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