Multidrug resistance gene expression is controlled by steroid hormones in the secretory epithelium of the uterus

Mol Reprod Dev. 1990 Feb;25(2):101-9. doi: 10.1002/mrd.1080250202.


The multidrug resistance (mdr) gene family has been shown to encode a membrane glycoprotein, termed the P-glycoprotein, which functions as a drug efflux pump with broad substrate specificity. This multigene family is expressed in a tissue-specific fashion in a wide variety of normal and neoplastic tissues. The regulation of mdr gene expression in normal tissues is not understood. We have recently shown that mdr mRNA and the P-glycoprotein increases dramatically in the secretory luminal and glandular epithelium of the gravid murine uterus. This observation has suggested that mdr gene expression in the uterus is controlled by the physiologic changes associated with pregnancy. This report now demonstrates that mdr mRNA and P-glycoprotein are induced at high levels in the uterine secretory epithelium by the combination of estrogen and progesterone, the major steroid hormones of pregnancy. This regulation of mdr gene expression in the uterus does not require any other contribution from the fetus or placenta. The data indicate that this gene locus is hormonally responsive to estrogen and progesterone in the uterine secretory epithelium, suggesting an important and physiologically regulated role during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance / genetics*
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multigene Family*
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Pseudopregnancy / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Uterus / drug effects
  • Uterus / metabolism*


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Estrogens
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Progesterone