Journal of Neuro-Oncology

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 27–36 | Cite as

Expression and Functional Activity of the ABC-transporter Proteins P-glycoprotein and Multidrug-resistance Protein 1 in Human Brain Tumor Cells and Astrocytes

  • Sabine Spiegl-Kreinecker
  • Johanna Buchroithner
  • Leonilla Elbling
  • Elisabeth Steiner
  • Gabriele Wurm
  • Angelika Bodenteich
  • Johannes Fischer
  • Michael Micksche
  • Walter Berger


The poor prognosis of glioma patients is partly based on the minor success obtained from chemotherapeutic treatments. Resistance mechanisms at the tumor cell level may be, in addition to the blood–brain barrier, involved in the intrinsic chemo-insensitivity of brain tumors. We investigated the expression of the drug-transporter proteins P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and multidrug-resistance protein 1 (MRP1) in cell lines (N=24) and primary cell cultures (N=36) from neuroectodermal tumors, as well as in brain tumor extracts (N=18) and normal human astrocytes (N=1). We found that a considerable expression of P-gp was relatively rare in glioma cells, in contrast to MRP1, which was constitutively overexpressed in cells derived from astrocytomas as well as glioblastomas. Also, normal astrocytes cultured in vitro expressed high amounts of MRP1 but no detectable P-gp. Meningioma cells frequently co-expressed P-gp and MRP1, while, most of the neuroblastoma cell lines express higher P-gp but lower MRP1 levels as compared to the other tumor types. Both, a drug-exporting and a chemoprotective function of P-gp as well as MRP1 could be demonstrated in selected tumor cells by a significant upregulation of cellular 3H-daunomycin accumulation and daunomycin cytotoxicity via administration of transporter antagonists. Summing up, our data suggest that P-gp contributes to cellular resistance merely in a small subgroup of gliomas, but frequently in neuroblastomas and meningiomas. In contrast, MRP1 is demonstrated to play a constitutive role in the intrinsic chemoresistance of gliomas and their normal cell counterpart.

brain tumor glioma astrocyte multidrug-resistance multidrug-resistance protein 1 P-glycoprotein 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Spiegl-Kreinecker
    • 1
  • Johanna Buchroithner
    • 1
  • Leonilla Elbling
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Steiner
    • 2
  • Gabriele Wurm
    • 1
  • Angelika Bodenteich
    • 3
  • Johannes Fischer
    • 1
  • Michael Micksche
    • 2
  • Walter Berger
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryLandesnervenklinik Wagner-Jauregg HospitalLinzAustria
  2. 2.Vienna UniversityViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of PathologyLandesnervenklinik Wagner-Jauregg HospitalLinzAustria

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