Development of daunorubicin resistance in tumour cells by induction of carbonyl reduction

Biochem Pharmacol. 2000 Feb 1;59(3):293-300. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(99)00322-6.


A resistant descendant of the human stomach carcinoma cell line EPG85-257 was selected in the presence of increasing concentrations of daunorubicin (DRC). To avoid the expression and activity of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP), cells were cultured in the presence of verapamil. The resulting cells were used to evaluate an induced carbonyl reduction as a new determinant in DRC resistance. The MTT (3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide) toxicity assay was performed to estimate sensitivity to DRC in both cell lines. IC50 values of DRC increased almost 8-fold in the resistant descendants compared to the parental cell line. P-gp transcripts were detectable in both cell lines at only very low levels, and no significant alterations between sensitive and resistant cells were observed. MRP mRNA expression was markedly higher compared to P-gp mRNA, but, as was the case with P-gp, MRP mRNA levels in sensitive and resistant cells showed no alteration. This was probably due to the effect of the presence of verapamil during cell selection. Another known drug resistance factor, the lung resistance-related protein (LRP), was not at all detectable. Interestingly, resistant cells possessed 6-fold higher levels of DRC carbonyl-reducing activity, leading to the less toxic 13-hydroxy metabolite daunorubicinol (DRCOL). The 6-fold higher DRCOL formation roughly parallels the 8-fold increase in DRC IC50 values during cell selection, and therefore may account for DRC resistance in these cells. The determination of specific carbonyl reducing enzymes, known to be involved in DRC detoxification, revealed that mRNA expression of carbonyl reductase (EC, aldose reductase (EC, and dihydrodiol dehydrogenase 2 (EC increased in the resistant descendant. In contrast, the phase II-conjugating enzyme activities of glutathione S-transferases were significantly lower in resistant than in sensitive cells, whereas those of glucuronosyl transferase were not detectable in either cell line. Apparently, conjugating enzymes are not involved in DRC resistance in human stomach carcinoma cells. These studies indicate that DRC resistance in human stomach carcinoma cells may appear as a result of an induction of metabolic DRC inactivation via carbonyl reduction to the less active 13-hydroxy metabolite DRCOL.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / biosynthesis*
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / biosynthesis*
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / biosynthesis
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / metabolism
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Daunorubicin / analogs & derivatives
  • Daunorubicin / metabolism
  • Daunorubicin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Vault Ribonucleoprotein Particles / biosynthesis
  • Vault Ribonucleoprotein Particles / genetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Vault Ribonucleoprotein Particles
  • major vault protein
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • daunorubicinol
  • Daunorubicin