Creation of polarized cells coexpressing CYP3A4, NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase and MDR1/P-glycoprotein

Pharm Res. 2000 Jul;17(7):803-10. doi: 10.1023/a:1007599923694.


Purpose: To develop model polarized cell systems expressing cytochrome P4503A4. NADPH P450 reductase, and P-glycoprotein (Pgp).

Methods: LLC-PK1 and derivative L-MDR1 cells stably expressing Pgp, the product of the multidrug resistance gene (MDR1), were transfected stably using either a mammalian neomycin selectable expression vector (CYP3A4-Neo) or an episomal vector based on Epstein-Barr virus (CYP3A4-Hygro). These CYP3A4 expressing cells were compared with LLC-PK1, L-MDR1, or Caco-2 cells transduced with Adenovirus-3A4 vector (Ad3A4) with or without simultaneous Adenovirus-P450 Reductase (AdRed) transduction. Cells were characterized for expression of CYP3A4 protein and CYP3A4 mediated metabolism towards midazolam and testosterone. Analysis of membrane integrity and drug transport assays were performed to determine whether infection with recombinant Ad3A4 +/- AdRed affected Pgp function.

Results: The rank order of optimal CYP3A4 expression and activities in LLC-PKI and L-MDR1 cells from highest to lowest was cells cotransduced with Ad3A4 plus AdRed >> Ad3A4 >>> CYP3A4-Hygro > CYP3A4-Neo. Similarly, coexpression of Ad3A4 plus AdRed led to enhanced CYP3A4 mediated metabolism in Caco-2 cells over cells with Ad3A4 alone. Incubation of transwell cultured cells expressing Ad3A4/AdRed with midazolam led to readily detectable metabolite in the medium. In microsomes from Caco-2 and LLC-PK1 cells, each co-transduced with Ad3A4/AdRed, Vmax values for testosterone 6beta-hydroxylase activity ranged from 414 to 1350 pmoles/min/mg, respectively. For either Caco-2 or LLC-MDR1 cells, TEER values and the rate of apical to basal and basal to apical transport of vinblastine or digoxin were similar in cells with and without Ad3A4/Red transduction.

Conclusions: Polarized cellular systems coexpressing Ad3A4, AdRed, and the MDR1/Pgp transporter were developed and characterized. The results document the utility of these polarized model systems for simultaneous drug transport/drug metabolism studies. Since the experimental approach can be adapted to study the interplay of multiple enzyme/ transporting systems, it may find significant application as a screening tool for the pharmaceutical industry and as a more basic research tool to study the kinetics of intestinal drug bioavailability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Caco-2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • LLC-PK1 Cells / metabolism*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / genetics
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase / metabolism
  • Swine
  • Transfection / methods


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • CYP3A4 protein, human
  • NADPH-Ferrihemoprotein Reductase