Cellular pattern of multidrug‐resistance gene expression during chemical hepatocarcinogenesis in the rat

Harushige Nakatsukasa, Ritva P. Evarts, Richard K. Burt, Peter Nagy, Snorri S. Thorgeirsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Increased expression of multidrug‐resistance (mdr) gene transcripts and of the encoded protein, P‐glycoprotein, is found in many types of tumors. The biological significance of mdr overexpression during the stepwise process of neoplastic development, however, is not well understood. To assess the possible significance of mdr overexpression in carcinogenesis, we examined the cellular distributions of both mdr gene transcripts and P‐glycoprotein during hepatocarcinogenesis induced in rats by the Solt‐Farber protocol and then compared them to the distributions of the placental form of glutathione S‐transferase (GST‐P), a known marker of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions in the liver. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical techniques were employed. Neither mdr transcripts nor P‐glycoprotein was expressed in oval cells that appeared early in the carcinogenic process. GST‐P was strongly expressed in the early focal lesions, whereas the levels of mdr transcripts and P‐glycoprotein expressed were low and heterogeneous. Expression of mdr transcripts and P‐glycoprotein was increased and became more uniform in hyperplastic nodules and carcinomas, although considerable heterogeneity of expression was still found, particularly at the nodular stage. These data suggest that increased expression of mdr is associated with later stages of neoplastic development in the liver. Furthermore, that no chemical treatment of the animals was employed when the expression of mdr was increasing in the preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions suggests that the enhanced mdr expression is intrinsic to the carcinogenic process. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-198
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


  • Multidrug resistance
  • glutathione transferase
  • hepatocarcinogenesis
  • in situ hybridization
  • oval cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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