Secretion of small molecules from the systemic blood circulation into urine is one of the physiologically essential functions of the kidney. The human organic anion transporter (hOAT1) is a key component in the renal tubular secretion of negatively charged molecules including a variety of important therapeutics. In some cases, compounds interacting with hOAT1 may induce pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions or cause nephrotoxicity. We developed a fluorescence-based, 96-well format assay using CHO cells stably expressing hOAT1, which allows for the evaluation of interactions between small molecules and hOAT1. The assay is based on the inhibition of the transport of 6-carboxyfluorescein, a high-affinity hOAT1 substrate (Km = 3.9 microM), which was identified as one of several fluorescent organic anions. The relative inhibition potency of various known hOAT1 substrates determined using the 6-carboxyfluorescein-based inhibition assay correlated well with their Km values, indicating that the fluorescent assay exhibits a proper specificity. This in vitro assay can be employed to evaluate the mechanism of renal clearance of organic anions, to assess potential drug-drug interactions and/or nephrotoxic effects of various therapeutics, and to screen for novel hOAT1 inhibitors that could serve as efficient nephroprotectants.