Increased p38-MAPK is responsible for chemotherapy resistance in human gastric cancer cells

Xianling Guo, Nannan Ma, Jin Wang, Jianrui Song, Xinxin Bu, Yue Cheng, Kai Sun, Haiyan Xiong, Guocheng Jiang, Baihe Zhang, Mengchao Wu, Lixin Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Chemoresistance is one of the main obstacles to successful cancer therapy and is frequently associated with Multidrug resistance (MDR). Many different mechanisms have been suggested to explain the development of an MDR phenotype in cancer cells. One of the most studied mechanisms is the overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), which is a product of the MDR1 gene. Tumor cells often acquire the drug-resistance phenotype due to upregulation of the MDR1 gene. Overexpression of MDR1 gene has often been reported in primary gastric adenocarcinoma. Methods: This study investigated the role of p38-MAPK signal pathway in vincristine-resistant SGC7901/VCR cells. P-gp and MDR1 RNA were detected by Western blot analysis and RT-PCR amplification. Mitgen-activated protein kinases and function of P-gp were demonstrated by Western blot and FACS Aria cytometer analysis. Ap-1 activity and cell apoptosis were detected by Dual-Luciferase Reporter Assay and annexin V-PI dual staining. Results: The vincristine-resistant SGC7901/VCR cells with increased expression of the multidrug-resistance 1 (MDR1) gene were resistant to P-gp-related drug and P-gp-unrelated drugs. Constitutive increases of phosphorylated p38-MAPK and AP-1 activities were also found in the drug-resistant cells. Inhibition of p38-MAPK by SB202190 reduced activator protein-1 (AP-1) activity and MDR1 expression levels and increased the sensitivity of SGC7901/VCR cells to chemotherapy. Conclusion: Activation of the p38-MAPK pathway might be responsible for the modulation of P-glycoprotein-mediated and P-glycoprotein-unmediated multidrug resistance in the SGC7901/VCR cell line.

Original languageEnglish
Article number375
JournalBMC Cancer
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


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