Upregulation of p-glycoprotein by probiotics in intestinal epithelial cells and in the dextran sulfate sodium model of colitis in mice

Seema Saksena, Sonia Goyal, Geetu Raheja, Varsha Singh, Maria Akhtar, Talat M. Nazir, Waddah A. Alrefai, Ravinder K. Gill, Pradeep K. Dudeja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


P-glycoprotein (P-gp) mediates efflux of xenobiotics and bacterial toxins from the intestinal mucosa into the lumen. Dysregulation of P-gp has been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease. Certain probiotics have been shown to be effective in treating inflammatory bowel disease. However, direct effects of probiotics on P-gp are not known. Current studies examined the effects of Lactobacilli on P-gp function and expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Caco-2 monolayers and a mouse model of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis were utilized. P-gp activity was measured as verapamil-sensitive [3H]digoxin transepithelial flux. Multidrug resistant 1 (MDR1)/P-gp expression was measured by real-time quantitative PCR and immunoblotting. Culture supernatant (CS; 1:10 or 1:50, 24 h) of Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus rhamnosus treatment of differentiated Caco-2 monolayers (21 days postplating) increased (~3-fold) MDR1/P-gp mRNA and protein levels. L. acidophilus or L. rhamnosus CS stimulated P-gp activity (~2-fold, P < 0.05) via phosphoinositide 3-kinase and ERK1/2 MAPK pathways. In mice, L. acidophilus or L. rhamnosus treatment (3 * 109 colonyforming units) increased mdr1a/P-gp mRNA and protein expression in the ileum and colon (2- to 3-fold). In the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis model (3% DSS in drinking water for 7 days), the degree of colitis as judged by histological damage and myeloperoxidase activity was reduced by L. acidophilus. L. acidophilus treatment to DSS-treated mice blocked the reduced expression of mdr1a/ P-gp mRNA and protein in the distal colon. These findings suggest that Lactobacilli or their soluble factors stimulate P-gp expression and function under normal and inflammatory conditions. These data provide insights into a novel mechanism involving P-gp upregulation in beneficial effects of probiotics in intestinal inflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G1115-G1123
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis
  • Erk1/2 kinase
  • Intestinal inflammation
  • Lactobacillus species
  • Multidrug resistance 1
  • Phosphoinositide 3-kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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