Retrovirus-mediated transfer of the multidrug resistance gene into human haemopoietic progenitor cells

F. Bertolini, L. De Monte, C. Corsini, L. Lazzari, E. Lauri, D. Soligo, M. Ward, A. Bank, F. Malavasi

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We report the utilization of cord blood (CB) or bone marrow (BM) derived low density or purified CD34+ cells as a target for human multidrug resistance (MDR1) gene transfer. Cells were cocultivated for 48 h with an irradiated MDR1 retroviral producer line. Since some degree of MDR1 gene expression has been reported to occur in haemopoietic progenitor cells and in peripheral blood cells, efficiency of MDR1 gene transfer was assessed by: (1) Drug selection and culture in presence of 50 ng/ml doxorubicin, 10 ng/ml colchicine and 0.85 μg/ml taxol. In uninfected control, 1-2% of CFU-GM and CFU-GEMM were found to be drug-resistant, while 14-31% of original clonogenic activity was found after 2 weeks of culture of transduced cells. Efficiency of MDR1 transfer was significantly enhanced by prestimulation with cytokines, and found to be significantly superior in CB-derived compared to BM-derived progenitors. (2) Analysis of MDR1 gene expression by evaluating MDR1 mRNA through polymerase chain reaction. MDR1 expression was very low in cultures of uninfected controls, whereas, after drug selection, MDR1 mRNA levels in transduced cells was as high as in the MDR1 retroviral producer line (positive controls). (3) Flow cytometric analysis of the expression of CD34 and P-glycoprotein, the product of the MDR1 gene. After MDR1 transduction and 2 weeks of culture, membrane expression of P-glycoprotein was found on 17-25% of viable CD34+ cells. (4) Cytochemical localization by APAAP staining of P-glycoprotein. No specific localization was found in untransduced controls, whereas transduced and cultured CB-cells expressed P-glycoprotein on plasma and nuclei membrane. In conclusion, MDR1 gene transfer into CB- and BM-derived progenitor cells seems a feasible and attractive approach to generate a drug-resistant haemopoiesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-324
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • gene transfer
  • haemopoietic progenitors
  • MDR1
  • multi-drug resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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