Expression and regulation of hepatic drug and bile acid transporters

Toxicology. 2000 Nov 16;153(1-3):203-19. doi: 10.1016/s0300-483x(00)00315-2.


Transport across hepatocyte plasma membranes is a key parameter in hepatic clearance and usually occurs through different carrier-mediated systems. Sinusoidal uptake of compounds is thus mediated by distinct transporters, such as Na(+)-dependent or Na(+)-independent anionic transporters and by some cationic transporters. Similarly, several membrane proteins located at the apical pole of hepatocytes have been incriminated in the excretion of compounds into the bile. Indeed, biliary elimination of anionic compounds, including glutathione S-conjugates, is mediated by MRP2, whereas bile salts are excreted by a bile salt export pump (BSEP) and Class I-P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is involved in the secretion of amphiphilic cationic drugs, whereas class II-P-gp is a phospholipid transporter. The expression of hepatic transporters and their activity are regulated in various situations, such as ontogenesis, carcinogenesis, cholestasis, cellular stress and after treatment by hormones and xenobiotics. Moreover, a direct correlation between a defect and the absence of transporter with hepatic disease has been demonstrated for BSEP, MDR3-P-gp and MRP2.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins*


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • bile acid binding proteins
  • Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • AKR1C2 protein, human