P-glycoprotein in HK-2 proximal tubule cell line

Ren Fail. 2001 May-Jul;23(3-4):331-7. doi: 10.1081/jdi-100104717.


P-glycoprotein (PGP) is an efflux pump physiologically expressed in the apical membrane of the proximal tubular cells. PGP may play a role in the elimination of exogenous substances such as chemotherapeutic drugs, calcium channel blockers and immunosuppressors. The involvement of renal PGP in the transport of endogenous substrates is under investigation. HK-2 is an immortalized proximal tubule cell line from normal adult human kidney, reported to retain a phenotype indicative of a well-differentiated state. No data regarding expression and/or activity of PGP in this cell line are available. The aim of this study was to ascertain the usefulness of HK-2 cell line to investigate the properties and roles of PGP in proximal tubular cells. PGP expression in HK-2 cells was determined by immunoblotting analysis using the monoclonal antibody C219. The activity of PGP was assessed by measuring the transport of the fluorescent probe Rhodamine 123 (R-123) in intact cell monostrates. The interactions of putative PGP modulators, including verapamil and cyclosporin A were also evaluated. Western blot revealed a C219 immunoreactive band of about 150 kDa consistent with the presence of PGP. HK-2 cells preloaded with R-123 rapidly effluxed the dye, the efflux being inhibited by verapamil. Verapamil and, to a major extent cyclosporin A, significantly increased R-123 intracellular accumulation. PGP immunoblottable amount was increased when cells were cultured in the presence of either cyclosporin A or dexamethasone. The results suggest that the HK-2 cells, among the various differentiation features of proximal tubules, retain also the expression of a functional PGP in their membranes and that both PGP activity and expression may be modulated by drugs. Therefore, HK-2 line appears a suitable and promising tool for the study in vitro of renal transport processes dependent on PGP.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Fluorescent Dyes / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / cytology
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism*
  • Rhodamine 123 / pharmacology
  • Verapamil / pharmacology


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rhodamine 123
  • Cyclosporine
  • Verapamil