To test the activity of P-170 glycoprotein in isolated hepatocytes, a method has been developed employing the fluorescent dye rhodamine 123 (R-123). The uptake of R-123 by both freshly isolated and 4-hr-plated hepatocytes depends on dye concentration, time of incubation, and cell number. The efflux of R-123 from cells is inhibited by sodium azide and by verapamil. In standard conditions the efficiency of efflux of R-123 from cells correlates with the relative amount of immunoblottable glycoprotein. The method has been applied to detection of P-170 activity in hepatocytes from animals of different ages as well as from carcinogen-treated animals. The proposed assay appears a simple and adequate tool for the functional assessment of multidrug transporter in liver.
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