The multidrug-resistance transporter Abcc3 protects NK cells from chemotherapy in a murine model of malignant glioma

Sara Pessina, Gabriele Cantini, Dimos Kapetis, Emanuela Cazzato, Natalia Di Ianni, Gaetano Finocchiaro, Serena Pellegatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abcc3, a member of the ATP-binding cassette transporter superfamily, plays a role in multidrug resistance. Here, we found that Abcc3 is highly expressed in blood-derived NK cells but not in CD8+ T cells. In GL261 glioma-bearing mice treated with the alkylating agent temozolomide (TMZ) for 5 d, an early increased frequency of NK cells was observed. We also found that Abcc3 is strongly upregulated and functionally active in NK cells from mice treated with TMZ compared to controls. We demonstrate that Abcc3 is critical for NK cell survival during TMZ administration; more importantly, Akt, involved in lymphocyte survival, is phosphorylated only in NK cells expressing Abcc3. The resistance of NK cells to chemotherapy was accompanied by increased migration and homing in the brain at early time points. Cytotoxicity, evaluated by IFNγ production and specific lytic activity against GL261 cells, increased peripherally in the later phases, after conclusion of TMZ treatment. Intra-tumor increase of the NK effector subset as well as in IFNγ, granzymes and perforin-1 expression, were found early and persisted over time, correlating with a profound modulation on glioma microenvironment induced by TMZ. Our findings reveal an important involvement of Abcc3 in NK cell resistance to chemotherapy and have important clinical implications for patients treated with chemo-immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 18 2016


  • Abcc3
  • chemotherapy
  • glioblastoma
  • multidrug resistance
  • natural killer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Oncology
  • Immunology


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