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      P Glycoprotein: A New Mechanism to Control Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity

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          The role of P glycoprotein (P-gp) in kidney is now being explored, and under physiological conditions, this protein is thought to be an excretory pump of cationic xenobiotics and metabolites. Functionally, two different types of P-gp have been described, but only the class I has been related to drug transport, and its overexpression confers the multidrug resistance phenotype in tumoral cells. It has been proposed that P-gp is involved in the energy-dependent transport of substrates through the cell membrane (toxic metabolites, toxins, nutrients, ions, peptides, etc.) – like a ‘hydrophobic molecule vacuum cleaner’. Several physiological functions have been attributed to P-gp: defense against xenobiotic aggression and transmembrane transport of prenylcysteine methyl esters, removing these cytotoxic metabolites from cells. A variety of substrates ranging from chemotherapeutics to steroid hormones, antibiotics, and calcium channel blockers can be transported by P-gp, suggesting the possible involvement of this protein in other unknown functions. Results from our group and others have suggested that overexpression of P-gp in renal tubular and mesangial cells prevents pharmacological nephrotoxicity by cyclosporin A (CsA). On the other hand CsA, a substrate of the pump, could act as a blocker in tubular cells by competitive inhibition. One relevant aspect in kidney is the possible relationship between P-gp and protein kinase C. Several reports suggest that protein kinase C may play a role in inducing the P-gp overexpression in cells under xenobiotic pressure, through activation of the ras oncoprotein family. This could be mediated directly by angiotensin II as a ras activator. This way, the detoxicant function of P-gp against products of the ras catabolism could mediate their accumulation when the ‘vacuum cleaner’ function is blocked by CsA or tacrolimus, contributing to the initial development of fibroblastic activation that leads to interstitial fibrosis associated with nephrotoxicity by these immunosuppressor drugs. In conclusion, P-gp expression could be an important component of a complex detoxifying system in kidney against xenobiotics or regulating the traffic of endogenous metabolites responsible for the susceptibility of subjects to the development of nephrotoxicity against different drugs.

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          Most cited references 7

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          Proteins regulating Ras and its relatives.

          GTPases of the Ras superfamily regulate many aspects of cell growth, differentiation and action. Their functions depend on their ability to alternate between inactive and active forms, and on their cellular localization. Numerous proteins affecting the GTPase activity, nucleotide exchange rates and membrane localization of Ras superfamily members have now been identified. Many of these proteins are much larger and more complex than their targets, containing multiple domains capable of interacting with an intricate network of cellular enzymes and structures.
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            Cyclosporins as drug resistance modifiers.

            Cyclosporin A (CsA), a cyclic peptide of 11 amino acids isolated from the fungus Tolypoclodium inflatum Gams, is the principle drug used for immunosuppression in organ transplant patients. It is known to have a very specific effect on T-cell proliferation although the precise mechanism remains unclear. Following internalization, CsA binds to a cytosolic protein, cyclophilin, which has been shown to possess peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase activity. CsA is an effective modifier of multidrug resistance in human and rodent cells at doses in the range of 1 to 5 micrograms/mL. Although it reverses the drug accumulation deficit associated with multidrug resistance in some cell types, this is not always the case. CsA has P-glycoprotein binding activity but less specific membrane effects and inhibition of protein kinase C may also be involved in its resistance modifier action. A number of non-immunosuppressive analogues of CsA have been shown to have resistance modifier activity and some are more potent than the parent compound. One analogue from Sandoz, PSC-833, has been shown to be approximately 10-fold more potent than CsA and is expected to enter clinical trial in the near future. The use of such agents may allow a full test of the hypothesis that reversal of multidrug resistance will prove a useful clinical strategy.
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              Protein kinase C-mediated phosphorylation does not regulate drug transport by the human multidrug resistance P-glycoprotein.

               P Gros,  S Ruetz,  A Sardini (1996)
              P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is an active transporter that can confer multidrug resistance by pumping cytotoxic drugs out of cells and tumors. P-gp is phosphorylated at several sites in the "linker" region, which separates the two halves of the molecule. To examine the role of phosphorylation in drug transport, we mutated P-gp such that it could no longer be phosphorylated by protein kinase C (PKC). When expressed in yeast, the ability of the mutant proteins to confer drug resistance, or to mediate [3H]vinblastine accumulation in secretory vesicles, was indistinguishable from that of wild type P-gp. A matched pair of mammalian cell lines were generated expressing wild type P-gp and a non-phosphorylatable mutant protein. Mutation of the phosphorylation sites did not alter P-gp expression or its subcellular localization. The transport properties of the mutant and wild type proteins were indistinguishable. Thus, phosphorylation of the linker of P-gp by PKC does not affect the rate of drug transport. In light of these data, the use of agents that alter PKC activity to reverse multidrug resistance in the clinic should be considered with caution.

                Author and article information

                Nephron Exp Nephrol
                Cardiorenal Medicine
                S. Karger AG
                April 1998
                20 March 1998
                : 6
                : 2
                : 89-97
                Department of Pathology, University Hospital and School of Medicine, University of Granada, Spain
                20510 Exp Nephrol 1998;6:89–97
                © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 2, References: 59, Pages: 9
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