Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 421–427 | Cite as

Modulation of multidrug resistance protein (MRP1/ABCC1) expression: a novel physiological role for ouabain

  • R. C. Valente
  • L. S. Capella
  • C. R. Nascimento
  • A. G. Lopes
  • M. A. M. Capella
Original Article


Besides being a (Na+,K+)-ATPase inhibitor, high doses of the hormone ouabain have also been reported to modulate both the expression and activity of proteins belonging to the ATP binding cassette family of transporters, such as ABCC7 (CFTR), ABCB1 (P-glycoprotein), and ABCC1 (MRP1). Although these proteins are present in the kidney, only ABCB1 has a putative physiological role in this organ, secreting endobiotics and xenobiotics. In the present work, we studied the relationship between ouabain and ABCC1 expression and function, aiming to establish a physiological role for ouabain. It was observed that prolonged (24 h) but not short (30 min) incubation with 1 nmol/L or higher ouabain concentrations decreased the expression of ABCC1 protein and induced its mRNA expression. This decrease was rapidly reversible, reaching control levels after incubation of cells in ouabain-free medium for 3 h, denoting a hormonal action. Moreover, concentrations equal or higher than 100 nmol/L ouabain also induced impairment of ABCC1 activity, increasing the accumulation of carboxyfluorescein diacetate, an ABCC1 fluorescent substrate. Because ouabain is now accepted as an endogenous hormone, our results suggest that ABCC1 is regulated by hormones related to body volume control, which may have implications for the treatment of hypertensive cancer patients. Moreover, providing ABCC1 is expressed in several other tissues, such as brain, testis, and the immune system, and is related to the transport of glutathione, it is possible that ouabain release may control a number of functions within these organs and tissues by modulating both the expression and the activity of ABCC1.


ABCC1 Flow cytometry Kidney Ouabain 



ATP binding cassette


multidrug resistance-associated protein 1


carboxyfluorescein diacetate


endogenous ouabain


multidrug resistance


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. C. Valente
    • 1
  • L. S. Capella
    • 2
  • C. R. Nascimento
    • 2
  • A. G. Lopes
    • 2
  • M. A. M. Capella
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Bioquímica MédicaUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas FilhoUniversidade Federal do Rio de JaneiroRio de JaneiroBrazil

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