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Eur J Immunol. 1994 Dec;24(12):2974-81.

Heterogeneity in P-glycoprotein (multidrug resistance) activity among murine peripheral T cells: correlation with surface phenotype and effector function.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of Lausanne, Epalinges, Switzerland.


P-glycoprotein (P-gly) is the transmembrane efflux pump responsible for multidrug resistance in tumor cells. Functional P-gly activity can be conveniently assessed microfluorometrically using the fluorescent dye rhodamine 123 (Rh123), which is an artificial substrate for the P-gly transporter. Here we assess P-gly activity in subsets of mouse peripheral T lymphocytes using the Rh123 efflux assay. Our data indicate that virtually all CD8+ cells extrude Rh123 efficiently, whereas only a subset of CD4+ cells exhibit P-gly activity. Correlation of P-gly activity in CD4+ cells with the expression of a panel of surface markers revealed that cells bearing an "activated/memory" phenotype (CD45RB-, CD44hi, CD62L-, CD25+, CD69+) were exclusively found in the fraction that can extrude Rh123. In contrast "naive" phenotype CD4+ cells (CD45RB+, CD44lo, CD62L+, CD25-, CD69-) could be further subdivided into two major subsets based on P-gly activity. In functional studies of sorted cell populations the Rh123-extruding subset of "naive" CD4+ cells proliferated more strongly and secreted higher levels of interleukin (IL)-2 than its Rh123-retaining counterpart when activated by a variety of polyclonal stimuli. Furthermore, this subset produced detectable levels of interferon (IFN)-gamma upon stimulation but no IL-4 or IL-10. As expected, the Rh123-retaining "naive" subset produced only IL-2 after stimulation, whereas the "memory" subset produced IFN-gamma, IL-4 and IL-10 in addition to low levels of IL-2. Collectively, our data indicate that P-gly activity is a novel parameter that can be used to distinguish a subset of "preactivated" CD4+ cells that would be considered as naive on the basis of their surface phenotype.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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