Monoclonal antibodies against P-glycoprotein, an MDR1 gene product, inhibit interleukin-2 release from PHA-activated lymphocytes

Exp Hematol. 1996 Aug;24(10):1258-64.


P-glycoprotein (Pgp), a product of the human MDR1 gene, is a member of the ABC superfamily of transporters responsible for the trafficking of biologically active substances across the membrane. In tumors, Pgp is associated with multidrug resistance (MDR), the phenomenon characterized by the ability of cells to efflux structurally diverse lipophilic compounds. It has been demonstrated that Pgp is also expressed on various types of normal human tissues and cells, including hematopoietic stem cells, T, B, and natural killer (NK) cells. The normal physiologic function of Pgp in immune cells is unclear. In this study, we used highly specific and nontoxic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against external epitopes of Pgp (mAb UIC2, its monovalent Fab fragments, and mAb MRK16) to inhibit Pgp-mediated efflux and investigate a possible role of Pgp in activated T lymphocytes. We found that the treatment of phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) with these mAbs resulted in a significant reduction of interleukin-2 (IL-2) levels in the culture. Early activation events, as measured by intracellular calcium flux, expression of the CD69 early activation marker, and expression of IL-2 mRNA, were not affected by anti-Pgp mAbs. These results suggest that the Pgp efflux pump may be involved in the transport of IL-2 in T lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / immunology
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / physiology*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antigens, CD / analysis
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antigens, CD
  • Interleukin-2
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Calcium