Ivermectin is a potent antiparasitic drug from macrocyclic lactone (ML) family, which interacts with the ABC multidrug transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp). We studied the interactions of ivermectin with the multidrug resistance proteins (MRPs) by combining cellular and subcellular approaches. The inhibition by ivermectin of substrate transport was measured in A549 cells (calcein or 2',7'-bis(2-carboxyethyl)-5(6)-carboxyfluorescein, BCECF) and in HL60-MRP1 (calcein). Ivermectin induced calcein and BCECF retention in A549 cells (IC(50) at 1 and 2.5microM, respectively) and inhibited calcein efflux in HL60-MRP1 (IC(50)=3.8microM). The action of ivermectin on the transporters ATPase activity was followed on membranes from Sf9 cells overexpressing human Pgp, MRP1, 2 or 3. Ivermectin inhibited the Pgp, MRP1, 2 and 3 ATPase activities after stimulation by their respective activators. Ivermectin showed a rather good affinity for MRPs, mainly MRP1, in the micromolar range, although it was lower than that for Pgp. The transport of BODIPY-ivermectin was followed in cells overexpressing selectively Pgp or MRP1. In both cell lines, inhibition of the transporter activity induced intracellular retention of BODIPY-ivermectin. Our data revealed the specific interaction of ivermectin with MRP proteins, and its transport by MRP1. Although Pgp has been considered until now as the sole active transporter for this drug, the MRPs should be taken into account for the transport of ivermectin across cell membrane, modulating its disposition in addition to Pgp. This could be of importance for optimizing clinical efficacy of ML-based antiparasitic treatments. This offers fair perspectives for the use of ivermectin or non-toxic derivatives as multidrug resistance-reversing agents.