Effect of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma on intestinal P-glycoprotein expression, activity, and localization in Caco-2 cells

J Pharm Sci. 2004 Jun;93(6):1524-36. doi: 10.1002/jps.20072.


The P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a drug efflux pump, is expressed in intestinal epithelial cells, where it constitutes a barrier against xenobiotics. In inflammatory bowel disease, a dysregulation in the production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha and interferon (IFN)gamma, and an alteration of Pgp expression and activity have been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of TNF alpha and IFN gamma on intestinal Pgp expression, activity, and localization in Caco-2 cells grown on filters. TNF alpha induced both a strong time-dependent diminution (-56%) of MDR1 mRNA (semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) and a significant decrease of unidirectional transport of rhodamine 123 after 48 h of exposure at 10 ng/mL. By confocal laser scanning microscopy, the Pgp was mainly localized to the apical plasma membrane of both control and TNF alpha-treated cells. By contrast, IFN gamma induced up-regulation of both mRNA MDR1 and Pgp protein expression without incidence on Pgp activity. Interestingly, a colocalization of Pgp with lateral F-actin was observed. Associated with TNF alpha, IFN gamma produced neither an antagonist nor synergistic effect on Pgp activity. In conclusion, our results demonstrate an inhibitory effect of TNF alpha and no effect of IFN gamma on Pgp transport activity using rhodamine 123 as a substrate. Mechanisms of action of these cytokines remain to be studied.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma