Expression of mdr1 and mrp in the normal B-cell homologue of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

D. M P Wall, S. El-Osta, D. Tzelepis, I. Bertoncello, P. Kantharidis, S. T. Chou, J. R. Zalcberg, J. D. Parkin

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B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells commonly express the multidrug resistance phenotype. The aim of this study was to establish whether the normal homologue in B-cell ontogeny of B-CLL also expressed the multidrug resistance (mdr) phenotype. Human tonsillar lymphocytes were sorted to yield two B-cell subsets based on the expression of CD19, CD5 and CD10. The normal homologue was represented by a population of B cells that was CD19 positive, CD10 negative and weakly expressed CD5. Based upon functional analysis and the detection of mdr1 mRNA by semi-quantitative PCR, these cells expressed the mdr phenotype. In contrast, functional multidrug resistace could not be demonstrated in CD19-positive CD10-positive cells with strong expression of CD5, nor could mdr1 mRNA be found in these cells. MRP was variably expressed in both B-cell subsets with no discernable differences in the pattern of expression. We conclude that normal B cells with a phenotype resembling that of B-CLL cells express the multidrug resistace phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-707
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • B-CLL
  • mdr1
  • normal B-cell homologues

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