The effect of herbal materials on the p-glycoprotein activity and function

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P-glycoprotein (P-gp) encoded by the MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1) gene is ATP-dependent transporting protein which is localizated in the cell membrane. P-gp is expressed mainly in organs with the secretory functions and its physiological role concerns tissue protection against xenobiotics. P-glycoprotein is involved in the permeability barriers of the blood-brain, blood-placenta directly protecting these organs. It participates in the transport of many drugs and other xenobiotics affecting their absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. The high P-gp activity in the cell membranes of cancer tissue is a major cause of lack of effectiveness of chemotherapy. Hence, the methods which could increase the sensibility of these pathological cells to cytostatics are still being searched. In the experimental studies it was shown that natural plant substances may have an effect on the expression level and activity of P-glycoprotein. Hypericum perforatum, Ginkgo biloba and Camellia sinensis increase P-gp activity while curcumin from Curcuma longa, piperine and silymarin inhibit this protein. Taking into account a wide substrate spectrum of P-gp, application of our knowledge on interactions of herbals and synthetic drugs should be considered in order to improve drug impact on different tissues.

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