Tissue distribution and chemical induction of multiple drug resistance genes in rats

James M. Brady, Nathan J. Cherrington, Dylan P. Hartley, Susan C. Buist, Ning Li, Curtis D. Klaassen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

141 Scopus citations


Multiple drug resistance (mdr) genes encode P-glycoprotein, which is responsible for resistance to some cancer chemotherapeutic drugs and efflux of xenobiotics of cells. Thus, mdr can protect organs from xenobiotics. In rats, there are two mdr1 genes capable of xenobiotic transport, mdr1a and mdr1b. The purpose of this study was to determine the tissue distribution of rat mdr1a and mdr1b mRNA and whether microsomal enzyme inducers that increase phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzymes coordinately regulate mdr1a and/or mdr1b. The mRNA levels of mdr1a and mdr1b were determined using branched-DNA signal amplification technology. The highest level of expression of mdr1a mRNA was observed in the gastrointestinal tract, with levels increasing, respectively, from duodenum, jejunum, and ileum to large intestine. Expression levels of mdr1a mRNA in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, kidney, lung, and liver were less than one-tenth of that in the ileum. The tissue distribution of mdr1b mRNA was similar to mdr1a with highest expression in the gastrointestinal tract but only about 3-fold higher than in most other tissues. The induction of mdr1a and mdr1b mRNA transcripts in liver, kidney, and ileum by treatment of rats with 18 chemicals representing aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands, constitutive androstane receptor ligands, pregnane X receptor ligands, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor ligands, electrophile-response-element activators, and CYP4502E1 inducers was assessed. Hepatic, renal, and intestinal expression of mdr1a and mdr1b mRNA were not significantly altered by treatment of rats with any of these classes of ligands. In conclusion, the primary expression of rat mdr1 genes is in the gastrointestinal tract where they are thought to function to decrease the absorption of some xenobiotics. Rat mdr1 gene expression is not readily increased by microsomal enzyme inducers in rats through coordinate mechanisms with phase I and II drug-metabolizing enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-844
Number of pages7
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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