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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2003 Aug 15;33(5):551-6.

The effects of protease inhibitors and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors on p-glycoprotein expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro.

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University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom.


Several antiretroviral compounds have been shown to be substrates for the efflux protein P-glycoprotein (P-gp) although few studies have investigated the effects of drug on expression of this protein. Here, an in vitro system has been adopted to investigate the effects of protease inhibitors (PIs) and nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) on P-gp expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). PBMCs isolated from healthy volunteers were incubated with 10 or 100 microM PI (saquinavir, ritonavir, lopinavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, amprenavir) or 10 microM NNRTI (efavirenz, nevirapine) for 72 hours. Surface P-gp expression was measured by flow cytometry and compared with vehicle-incubated controls. Toxicity was assessed by MTT assay and the effects of each compound were compared between individuals with differing genotypes at position 3435 of exon 26 of MDR1, which was assigned by restriction fragment length polymorphism. Significant increases in median P-gp expression were observed following incubation with 10 microM nelfinavir (10.2 versus 6.7% P-gp-positive cells) and efavirenz (10.0 versus 6.7% P-gp-positive cells). No significant differences in induction were observed between genotypes (CC, CT, TT). Following incubation with 100 microM PI, significant upregulation of P-gp occurred except with amprenavir. However, nelfinavir, ritonavir, and lopinavir caused marked toxicity, indicating that at higher concentrations, the increase in P-gp may be at least partially related to a stress response. These results indicate the potential of some PIs and NNRTIs to induce P-gp expression in PBMCs in vitro.

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