This paper, for the first time, demonstrates that exposure of cells to the poly(ethylene oxide)-poly(propylene oxide) block copolymer, Pluronic P85, results in a substantial decrease in ATP levels selectively in MDR cells. Cells expressing high levels of functional P-glycoprotein (MCF-7/ADR, KBv; LLC-MDR1; Caco-2, bovine brain microvessel endothelial cells [BBMECs]) are highly responsive to Pluronic treatment, while cells with low levels of P-glycoprotein expression (MCF-7, KB, LLC-PK1, human umbilical vein endothelial cells [HUVECs] C2C12 myoblasts) are much less responsive to such treatment. Cytotoxicity studies suggest that Pluronic acts as a chemosensitizer and potentiates cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin in MDR cells. The ability of Pluronic to inhibit P-glycoprotein and sensitize MDR cells appears to be a result of ATP depletion. Because many mechanisms of drug resistance are energy dependent, a successful strategy for treating MDR cancer could be based on selective energy depletion in MDR cells. Therefore, the finding of the energy-depleting effects of Pluronic P85, in combination with its sensitization effects is of considerable theoretical and practical significance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the United States National Institutes of Health (RO1 NS366229; RO1 CA8922501).