Frequency of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the P-glycoprotein drug transporter MDR1 gene in white subjects

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Mar;69(3):169-74. doi: 10.1067/mcp.2001.114164.


Background: P-glycoprotein, the gene product of MDR1, confers multidrug resistance against antineoplastic agents but also plays an important role in the bioavailability of common drugs in medical treatment. Various polymorphisms in the MDR1 gene were recently identified. A silent mutation in exon 26 (C3435T) was correlated with intestinal P-glycoprotein expression and oral bioavailability of digoxin.

Objective: We wanted to establish easy-to-use and cost-effective genotyping assays for the major known MDR1 single nucleotide polymorphisms and study the allelic frequency distribution of the single nucleotide polymorphisms in a large sample of volunteers.

Methods: In this study, the distribution of the major MDR1 alleles was determined in 461 white volunteers with the use of polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism.

Results: Five amino acid exchanges were found with allelic frequencies of 11.2% for Asn21Asp and 5.5% for Ser400Asn. Strikingly, in exon 21 three variants were discovered at the same locus: 2677G (56.4%), 2677T (41.6%), and 2677A (1.9%), coding for 893Ala, Ser, or Thr. A novel missense Gln1107Pro mutation was found in two cases (0.2%). The highest frequencies were observed for intronic and silent polymorphisms; C3435T occurred in 53.9% of the subjects heterozygously, and 28.6% of individuals were homozygous carriers of 3435T/T with functionally restrained P-glycoprotein.

Conclusion: This study provides the first analysis of MDR1 variant genotype distribution in a large sample of white subjects. It gives a basis for large-scale clinical investigations on the functional role of MDR1 allelic variants for bioavailability of a substantial number of drugs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Genes, MDR / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics*
  • White People / genetics


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1