Background/aims: Hepatobiliary transporters are down-regulated in cholestasis, but their expression in acute, non-cholestatic, cytokine-mediated liver injury is unknown. Thus we studied the molecular mechanisms, by which sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (Ntcp), organic anion transporting polypeptide 1 (Oatp1), Oatp2, Oatp4, multidrug-resistance protein 2 (Mrp2) and bile salt export pump (Bsep) are regulated in liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)).
Methods: mRNA and protein levels were determined in rats 24 and 72h after CCl(4) injection. Transporter gene transcription and binding activities of Ntcp and Mrp2 transactivators were assessed by nuclear runoff and electrophoretic mobility shift assays.
Results: mRNA levels significantly declined to 41+/-44% for Ntcp, 65+/-41% for Oatp1 and 64+/-28% for Oatp2, but remained unchanged for Oatp4, canalicular Mrp2 and Bsep. Protein levels declined only for Oatp4 (-50+/-17%) and Ntcp (-23+/-13%) at 24h. Reduced mRNA levels (Ntcp, Oatp1, Oatp2) were associated with decreased transcriptional activities. Binding activity of Ntcp transactivators (hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 alpha (HNF1alpha) and CAAT enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBPalpha) were reduced by 24h, whereas retinoid X receptor alpha (RXRalpha):retinoid acid receptor alpha (RARalpha) as transactivator of both Ntcp and Mrp2 remained unaltered. Recovery of acute hepatitis and changes in gene expression occurred after 72h.
Conclusions: Acute liver injury results in down-regulation of basolateral organic anion transporters similar to liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, but in contrast to endotoxin-induced cholestasis. Maintained binding activity of RXRalpha:RARalpha may explain differences in Mrp2 expression.