Vinblastine and sulfinpyrazone export by the multidrug resistance protein MRP2 is associated with glutathione export

Br J Cancer. 2000 Aug;83(3):375-83. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1262.


The multidrug resistance proteins MRP1 and MRP2 are members of the same subfamily of ATP-binding cassette transporters. Besides organic molecules conjugated to negatively charged ligands, these proteins also transport cytotoxic drugs for which no negatively charged conjugates are known to exist. In polarized MDCKII cells, MRP1 routes to the lateral plasma membrane, and MRP2 to the apical plasma membrane. In these cells MRP1 transports daunorubicin, and MRP2 vinblastine; both transporters export reduced glutathione (GSH) into the medium. We demonstrate that glutathione transport in MDCKII-MRP1 cells is inhibited by the inhibitors of organic anion transporters sulfinpyrazone, indomethacin, probenecid and benzbromarone. In MDCKII-MRP2 cells, GSH export is stimulated by low concentrations of sulfinpyrazone or indomethacin, whereas export is inhibited down to control levels at high concentrations. We find that unmodified sulfinpyrazone is a substrate for MRP2, also at concentrations where GSH export is inhibited. We also show that GSH export in MDCKII-MRP2 cells increases in the presence of vinblastine, and that the stoichiometry between drug and GSH exported is between two and three. Our data indicate that transport of sulfinpyrazone and vinblastine is associated with GSH export. However, at high sulfinpyrazone concentrations this compound is transported without GSH. Models of MRP action are discussed that could explain these results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / metabolism*
  • Benzbromarone / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport, Active / drug effects
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology
  • Probenecid / pharmacology
  • Sulfinpyrazone / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Uricosuric Agents / metabolism*
  • Vinblastine / metabolism*


  • Anion Transport Proteins
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Uricosuric Agents
  • Benzbromarone
  • Vinblastine
  • Glutathione
  • Probenecid
  • Sulfinpyrazone
  • Indomethacin