Molecular aspects of renal anionic drug transport

Annu Rev Physiol. 2002:64:563-94. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.64.081501.155913.


Multiple organic anion transporters in the proximal tubule of the kidney are involved in the secretion of drugs, toxic compounds, and their metabolites. Many of these compounds are potentially hazardous on accumulation, and it is therefore not surprising that the proximal tubule is also an important target for toxicity. In the past few years, considerable progress has been made in the cloning of these transporters and their functional characterization following heterologous expression. Members of the organic anion transporter (OAT), organic anion transporting polypeptide (OATP), multidrug resistance protein (MRP), sodium-phosphate transporter (NPT), and peptide transporter (PEPT) families have been identified in the kidney. In this review, we summarize our current knowledge on their localization, molecular and functional characteristics, and substrate and inhibitor specificity. A major challenge for the future will be to understand how these transporters work in concert to accomplish the renal secretion of specific anionic substrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics
  • Organic Anion Transporters / metabolism*
  • Pharmacokinetics


  • Organic Anion Transporters