P-glycoprotein expression and regulation. Age-related changes and potential effects on drug therapy

Drugs Aging. 1995 Jul;7(1):19-29. doi: 10.2165/00002512-199507010-00003.


P-Glycoprotein is a member of a superfamily of adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter proteins and plays an important role in multidrug resistance in cancer cells. P-Glycoprotein is known to transport a wide variety of substances ranging from ions to peptides. P-Glycoprotein is expressed on a variety of normal cells, however its physiological function is unclear. The apical and polar distribution on secretory cells suggests a secretory role for P-glycoprotein. More recently, cells of the immune system have been shown to express P-glycoprotein. There is evidence to suggest that P-glycoprotein may play a role in the secretion of certain cytokines (especially those lacking signal sequence) and cytotoxic molecules. In this article, the basic structure, gene regulation and expression of P-glycoprotein are reviewed. Furthermore, age-related changes in the expression of P-glycoprotein and potential effects on drug therapy in the elderly are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / biosynthesis*
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple / genetics
  • Drug Therapy
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immune System / cytology
  • Immune System / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / cytology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / immunology
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • RNA / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • RNA