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Virchows Arch. 1994;425(2):133-8.

Ultrastructural localization of P-glycoprotein on capillary endothelial cells in human gliomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Tokai University School of Medicine, Kanagawa, Japan.


The P-glycoprotein (P-Gp) encoded by the human multidrug-resistance gene MDR1 has been suggested to play certain roles in the blood-brain barrier (BBB). However, the detailed mechanism of the activity of P-Gp in multidrug-resistance (MDR) remains unclear in human glioma. We examined the localization of P-Gp in human glioma by immunohistochemical (IHC) and immunoelectron microscopic (IEM) methods with anti P-Gp monoclonal antibodies (C219, MRK16). We also examined MDR1 expression in primary glioma and xenografts by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with human MDR1-specific primers. The IHC study showed no P-Gp expression on tumour cells but it was present on capillary endothelial cells and IEM analysis showed definitive localization on their luminal surface. MDR1 gene expression was detected in eight primary glioma and three normal brain specimens by RT-PCR, but not in glioma xenografts. The lack of MDR1 expression in these cells appears to be a consequence of the replacement of the original human stroma, including blood vessels, by murine stroma in glioma xenografts. The unique distribution of P-Gp on the capillary blood vessels was confirmed in human glioma by the results of immunohistochemical and molecular biological studies.

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