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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Jun 9;95(12):6924-9.

A physiologic function for p-glycoprotein (MDR-1) during the migration of dendritic cells from skin via afferent lymphatic vessels.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Cornell University Medical College, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


P-glycoprotein (MDR-1) is a well-known transporter that mediates efflux of chemotherapeutic agents from the intracellular milieu and thereby contributes to drug resistance. MDR-1 also is expressed by nonmalignant cells, including leukocytes, but physiologic functions for MDR-1 are poorly defined. Using an initial screening assay that included >100 mAbs, we observed that neutralizing mAbs MRK16, UIC2, and 4E3 against MDR-1 specifically and potently blocked basal-to-apical transendothelial migration of mononuclear phagocytes, a process that may mimic their migration into lymphatic vessels. Antagonists of MDR-1 then were used in a model of authentic lymphatic clearance. In this model, antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DC) migrate out of explants of cultured human skin and into the culture medium via dermal lymphatic vessels. DC and T cells derived from skin expressed MDR-1 on their surfaces. Addition of anti-MDR-1 mAbs MRK16, UIC2, or the MDR-1 antagonist verapamil to skin explants at the onset of culture inhibited the appearance of DC, and accompanying T cells, in the culture medium by approximately 70%. Isotype-matched control mAbs against other DC molecules including CD18, CD31, and major histocompatibility complex I did not block. In the presence of MDR-1 antagonists, epidermal DC were retained in the epidermis, in contrast to control conditions. In summary, this work identifies a physiologic function for MDR-1 during the mobilization of DC and begins to elucidate how these critical antigen-presenting cells migrate from the periphery to lymph nodes to initiate T lymphocyte-mediated immunity.

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