Overcoming of multidrug resistance by introducing the apoptosis gene, bcl-Xs, into MRP-overexpressing drug resistant cells.
Published online on: May 1, 2000
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Multidrug resistance associated protein (MRP) is one of drug transport membranes that confer multidrug resistance in cancer cells. Multidrug resistance has been known to be associated with resistance to apoptosis. In this study, using MRP overexpressing multidrug resistant nasopharyngeal cancer cells, we examined the expression of apoptosis related genes including p53, p21WAF1, bax and bcl-Xs between drug sensitive KB and its resistant KB/7D cells. We also examined whether the introduction of apoptosis related gene could increase the sensitivity to anticancer drugs in association with apoptotic cell death. The relative resistances to anticancer drugs in KB/7D cells evaluated by IC50 values were 3.6, 61.3, 10.4 and 10.5 to adriamycin (ADM), etoposide (VP-16), vincristine (VCR) and vindesine (VDS), respectively. The resistance to anticancer drugs in KB/7D cells was associated with the attenuation of internucleosomal DNA ladder formation in apoptosis. Of important, the mRNA expression of bcl-Xs gene in KB/7D cells was decreased in one-fourth as compared to that of KB cells among the apoptosis genes. The mRNA expression of bcl-Xs gene in a bcl-Xs transfected clone (KB/7Dbcl-Xs) was increased about 2-fold compared to that of KB/7Dneo cells, while the mRNA expression of MRP gene was not significantly different in KB/7bcl-Xs and KB/7Dneo cells. The sensitivities to anticancer drugs including ADM, VCR and VDS except VP-16 were increased in KB/7Dbcl-Xs cells, in turn, the relative resistance in KB/7Dbcl-Xs cells was decreased to 1.4, 4.0, and 3.0 in ADM, VCR and VDS, respectively, as compared to those of KB/7Dneo cells. Of interest, the studies on the accumulation of [3H]VCR showed that the decrease of [3H]VCR accumulation in KB/7Dbcl-Xs was not significantly different from that of KB/7Dneo cells. Collectively, these results indicated that the mechanism(s) of drug resistance in KB/7D cells could be explained at least by two factors: a) reduced drug accumulation mediated by MRP; b) resistance to apoptosis due to the decreased expression of the bcl-Xs gene. These results also indicated that the multidrug resistance mediated by MRP might be partially overcome by introducing apoptosis gene into drug resistant cells without modulation of MRP function in drug accumulation.