Overexpression of P-glycoprotein (P-gp), the mdr1 gene product, confers multidrug resistance (MDR) to tumor cells and often limits the efficacy of chemotherapy. This study evaluated RNAi for specific silencing of the mdr1 gene and reversion of multidrug resistance. Three different short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) were designed and constructed in a pSilencer 3.1-H1 neo plasmid. The shRNA recombinant plasmids were transfected into HT9 leukemia cells. The RNAi effect was evaluated by real-time PCR, Western blotting and cell cytotoxicity assay. In the cell, shRNAs can specifically down-regulate the expression of mdr1, mRNA and P-gp. Resistance against harringtonine, doxorubicin and curcumin was decreased. The study indicated that shRNA recombinant plasmids could modulate MDR in vitro.