Background: The cDNA of the multispecific organic anion transporter 1 (OAT1) responsible for the tubular secretion of organic anions was recently isolated. In the current study, we investigated the developmental changes in OAT1 expression in the rat kidney.
Methods: Ontogenic expression of rat OAT1 was investigated by Northern blot, in situ hybridization, Western blot, and immunohistochemical analysis. In addition, para-aminohippurate (PAH) accumulation was measured using fetal, neonatal, and adult rat kidney slices.
Results: In Northern blot analysis, OAT1 was detected as early as on embryonic day 18 in the fetal kidney. The expression level of OAT1 mRNA increased remarkably just after birth (postnatal day 0). In situ hybridization revealed OAT1 expression on embryonic day 19. In both the fetal and neonatal kidneys, OAT1 mRNA was localized in a relatively deep region in the cortex. Western blot analysis detected OAT1 protein on embryonic day 20, and the expression level increased after birth. Immunohistochemical analysis did not reveal OAT1 staining in the fetal kidneys. A faint signal of OAT1 protein was detected on postnatal day 0; thereafter, the expression level increased. In the functional study using kidney slices, low but definite probenecid-sensitive PAH accumulation was noted in fetal rat kidney on embryonic day 20. After birth, probenecid-sensitive PAH uptake was increased.
Conclusions: The present study consistently demonstrates the remarkable increase of OAT1 expression after birth, and the immature excretory capacity of the proximal tubules of the neonatal kidney can be attributed, at least in part, to the low expression level of OAT1.