The Caco-2 cell line has been used widely for studying intestinal permeability and several transport functions, and express the multidrug resistance transporter MDR1/P-glycoprotein. Previously, the transient exposure to digoxin for 24 h was found to induce MDR1 mRNA in Caco-2 cells. Here, a digoxin-tolerant Caco-2 subline (Caco/DX) was newly established by the continuous exposure of Caco-2 cells to digoxin, and the effects of continuous exposure to digoxin on MDR1 were examined. The 50% growth inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) values for digoxin in Caco-2 and Caco/DX cells were 17.2 and 81.4 nM, respectively. The IC(50) values for paclitaxel, an MDR1 substrate, were 1.0 and 547 nM, respectively, whereas the cytotoxicity of 5-fluorouracil was comparable in both cells. The uptake and efflux of Rhodamine123, an MDR1 substrate, in Caco/DX cells were significantly less and greater, respectively, than those in Caco-2 cells, and these transports were affected by the addition of ciclosporin. The expression of MDR1 mRNA in Caco/DX cells was approximately 2- and 1.7-fold compared with Caco-2 cells and Caco-2 cells treated with 100 nM digoxin for 24 h, respectively. On the other hand, MRP1 mRNA in Caco/DX cells was unchanged. These observations confirmed that the continuous exposure to digoxin, as well as the transient exposure, induced MDR1 in Caco-2 cells.