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Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1993;36(2):133-9.

Diverse multidrug-resistance-modification agents inhibit cytolytic activity of natural killer cells.

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Department of General Surgery, Rush-Presbyterian, St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60612.


Multidrug resistance (MDR) is the phenomenon in which cultured tumor cells selected for resistance to one chemotherapeutic agent simultaneously acquire resistance to several apparently unrelated drugs. MDR in tumor cells is associated with the over-expression of P-glycoprotein, an ATP-dependent cell-membrane transport molecule. P-glycoprotein is also expressed in several normal tissues but its physiological role(s) is unknown. We recently observed that a hierarchy of MDR-like activity exists among human peripheral blood lymphocytes in the order CD8 > CD4 > CD20 (cytotoxic/suppressor T cells, helper T cells and B cells respectively). In this study, we report that natural killer (NK) cells also express MDR-like activity. This activity could be inhibited with verapamil or solutol HS-15, two agents that reverse MDR in tumor cells. These, and four additional reversing agents, were used to investigate the possible role of P-glycoprotein in NK cells. We observed that at 10% of their IC50, five of six reversing agents inhibited NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity; at higher (but non-toxic) doses, all six agents were inhibitory. These data suggest that NK-cell-mediated cytotoxicity may require the functional expression of an efflux molecule similar or identical to P-glycoprotein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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