1. We studied the functional interaction between transport and metabolism by comparing the transport of losartan and its active metabolite EXP 3174 (EXP) across cell monolayers. 2. Epithelial layers of Caco-2 cells as well as MDR1, MRP-1 and MRP-2 overexpressing cells, in comparison to the respective wildtypes, were used to characterize the transcellular transport of losartan and EXP. 3. Losartan transport in MDCK-MDR1 and Caco-2 cells was saturable and energy-dependent with a significantly greater basolateral-to-apical (B/A) than apical-to-basolateral (A/B) flux (ratio=31+/-1 in MDCK-MDR1 and ratio 4+/-1 in Caco-2 cells). The B/A flux of losartan was inhibited by cyclosporine and vinblastine, inhibitors of P-glycoprotein and MRP. In contrast, no active losartan transport was observed in MRP-1 or MRP-2 overexpressing cells. 4. The metabolite was only transported in Caco-2 cells with a B/A-to-A/B ratio of 5+/-1, while lacking active transport in the MDR1, MRP-1 or MRP-2 overexpressing cells. The B/A flux of EXP was significantly inhibited by cyclosporine and vinblastine. 5. In conclusion, losartan is transported by P-glycoprotein and other intestinal transporters, that do not include MRP-1 and MRP-2. In contrast, the carboxylic acid metabolite is not a P-glycoprotein substrate, but displays considerably higher affinity for other transporters than losartan, that again most probably do not include MRP-1 and MRP-2.