Pharmacogenetics of MDR1 and its impact on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of drugs

Pharmacogenomics. 2003 Jul;4(4):397-410. doi: 10.1517/phgs.4.4.397.22747.


The multi-drug resistant transporter MDR1/P-glycoprotein, the gene product of MDR1, is a glycosylated membrane protein of 170 kDa, belonging to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily of membrane transporters. MDR1 was originally isolated from resistant tumor cells as part of the mechanism of multi-drug resistance, but over the last decade, it has been elucidated that human MDR1 is also expressed throughout the body to confer intrinsic resistance to the tissues by exporting unnecessary or toxic exogeneous substances or metabolites. A number of various types of structurally unrelated drugs are substrates for MDR1, and MDR1 and other transporters are recognized as an important class of proteins for regulating pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. In 2000, Hoffmeyer et al. performed a systemic screening for MDR1 polymorphisms and indicated that a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), C3435T in exon 26, which caused no amino acid change, was associated with the duodenal expression of MDR1 and thereby the plasma concentrations of digoxin after oral administration. Interethnic differences in genotype frequencies of C3435T have been clarified, and, at present, a total of 28 SNPs have been found at 27 positions on the MDR1 gene. Clinical studies on the effects of C3435T on MDR1 expression and function in the tissues, and also on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics have been performed around the world; however, there are still discrepancies in the results, suggesting that the haplotype analysis of the gene should be included instead of SNP detection, and the design of clinical trials must be carefully planned to avoid misinterpretations. A polymorphism of C3435T is also reported to be a risk factor for a certain class of diseases such as the inflammatory bowel diseases, Parkinson's disease and renal epithelial tumor, and this might also be explained by the effects on MDR1 expression and function. In this review, the latest reports are summarized for the future individualization of pharmacotherapy based on MDR1 genotyping.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / chemistry
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics*
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / pharmacokinetics
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods*


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations