Objective: The present study aimed to evaluate the MDR reversal activity of bromotetrandrine (BrTet), a bromized derivative of tetrandrine (Tet), in vitro.

Methods: Drug sensitivity was determined using the MTT assay. Adriamycin (ADM) accumulation, the protein levels of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and the apoptotic changes were analyzed by fluorospectrophotometry, respectively. The mRNA levels of P-gp was determined by RT-PCR.

Results: BrTet at 0.25, 0.5 and reversed ADM resistance in MDR K562/A02 cells dose-dependently and its potency was greater than that of Tet at the same concentrations. The IC50 of ADM for K562 and K562/A02 cells were 55.122 mg/l and 1.1373 mg/l, respectively. Treating K562/A02 cells with BrTet(1uM)and TTD(1uM)both for 48 hours partially restored the sensitivity of K562/A02 cells to ADM (IC50 were 4.7729 mg/l and 13.584 mg/l respectively) but had not effect on K562 cells. The fold reversal (FR) were 11.55 and 4.06 respectively. K562/A02 cells showed apoptotic characteristics after treated with Brtet and Tet both for 48 hours compared with control group(apoptosis rate was 61.1%, 11.1% and 9.9%,respectively); Fluorospectrophotometric assay showed that BrTet significantly increased the intracellular accumulation of ADM in K562/A02 cells in a dose-dependent manner. The fluorescence intensity of intracellelar ADM in K562/A02 cells treated with ADM(1mg/L)was 33% of that in K562 cells. BrTet and Tet elevated the intracellular ADM concentration in K562/A02 cells up to 52% and 69%,respectively. BrTet also inhibited the overexpression of P-gp in K562/A02 cells. The fluorescence intensity of P-gp in K562 and K562/A02 cells was 0.5 and 97.97.The P-gp expression was down after treated with BrTet and TTD (65.05 and 54.86). The mdr1 mRNA was also down regulated.

Conclusions: BrTet showed significant MDR reversal activity in vitro. Its activity may be related to the inhibition of P-gp overexpression and the increase in intracellular accumulation of anticancer drugs. BrTet may be a promising MDR modulator for eventual assessment in the clinic.

Author notes

Disclosure: No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.