Modulation of multidrug resistance p-glycoprotein activity by flavonoids and honokiol in human doxorubicin- resistant sarcoma cells (MES-SA/DX-5): implications for natural sedatives as chemosensitizing agents in cancer therapy.J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2010 Apr-Jun; 24(2):197-205.JB
Multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer cells is often caused by the high expression of the plasma membrane drug transporter P-glycoprotein (Pgp) associated with an elevated intracellular glutathione (GSH) content in various human tumors. Several chemosensitizers reverse MDR but have significant toxicities. Sedatives are often used to control anxiety and depression in cancer patients. In this in vitro study we investigated the effects of three plant derived sedatives such as apigenin (Api), fisetin (Fis), flavonoids and honokiol (Hnk) on Pgp activity and cellular GSH content in order to evaluate their potential use as chemosensitizing agents in anticancer chemotherapy. Human doxorubicin (doxo) resistant uterine sarcoma cells (MES-SA/Dx5) that overexpress Pgp, were treated with each sedative alone (10 microM) or in combination with different doxo concentrations (2-8 microM). We measured the intracellular accumulation and cytotoxicity of doxo (MTT assay), the cellular GSH content (GSH assay) and ROS production (DFC-DA assay), in comparison with verapamil (Ver), a specific inhibitor for Pgp, used as reference molecule. We found that exposure at 2 and 8 microM doxo concentrations in the presence of Api, Fis and Hnk enhanced significantly doxo accumulation by 29+/-3.3, 20+/-4.8, 24+/-6.6 percent and 14+/-1.7, 8.3+/-4.2, 10.7+/-3.1 percent, respectively, when compared with doxo alone. These results were consistent with the increase of sensitivity towards doxo in MES-SA/Dx5, resulting in 1.7, 1.2, 1.4-fold and 1.2, 1.0 and 1.1-fold increases, respectively. Moreover, treatment with Api decreased markedly cellular GSH content (18 percent) and increased ROS production (greater than 20 percent) on MES-SA/Dx5 cells, while a significant reduction in ROS levels was observed in Hnk and Fis treated cells, when compared to untreated control. Our in vitro findings provide a rationale for innovative clinical trials to assess the use of natural sedatives or their derivatives as potential adjuvants to anticancer treatment for overcoming multidrug resistance Pgp-mediated in cancer patients.