P-glycoprotein (P-gp) effluxes lots of chemotherapeutic agents and leads to multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer treatments. The development of P-gp inhibitors from natural products provide a potential strategy for the beneficial clinical outcomes. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the natural flavonoid taxifolin, luteolin, (−)-gallocatechin, and (−)-catechin on human P-gp activity. The kinetic interactions and underlying mechanisms of taxifolin-mediated transporter inhibition were further investigated. The transporter inhibition ability was evaluated in human P-gp stable expression cells (ABCB1/Flp-InTM-293) by calcein-AM uptake assays. The kinetics study for P-gp inhibition was evaluated by doxorubicin and rhodamine123 efflux assays. The MDR reversal ability of taxifolin were performed by SRB assays to detect the cell viability in sensitive cancer cell line (HeLaS3), and resistant cancer cell line (KB-vin). Cell cycle analysis and ABCB1 real-time RT-PCR were used for mechanical exploration. The results demonstrated that taxifolin decreased ABCB1 expression in a concentration-dependent manner. The function of P-gp was inhibited by taxifolin through uncompetitive inhibition of rhodamine 123 and doxorubicin efflux. The combination of taxifolin significantly resensitized MDR cancer cells to chemotherapeutic agents. These results suggested that taxifolin may be considered as a potential P-gp modulator for synergistic treatment of MDR cancers.
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