Characterization of organic anion transporter regulation, glutathione metabolism and bile formation in the obese Zucker rat

J Hepatol. 2005 Dec;43(6):1021-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.05.031. Epub 2005 Jul 1.


Background/aims: Alterations in hepatobiliary transporters may render fatty livers more vulnerable against various toxic insults.

Methods: We therefore studied expression and function of key organic anion transporters and their transactivators in 8-week-old obese Zucker rats, an established model for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Results: Compared to their heterozygous littermates, obese animals showed a significant reduction in canalicular bile salt secretion, which was paralleled by significantly diminished Oatp2 mRNA and protein levels together with reduced nuclear HNF3beta, while expression of bile salt export pump, organic anion transporter (Oatp) 1 and multidrug resistance-associated protein (Mrp) 4 were unchanged. Impaired bile salt-independent bile flow in obese rats was associated with a 50% reduction of biliary secretion of the Mrp 2 model-substrates glutathione disulfide and S-(2,4-dinitrophenyl)glutathione. In line Mrp2 protein expression was reduced by 50% in obese rats.

Conclusions: Oatp2 and Mrp2 expression is decreased in fatty liver and may impair metabolism and biliary secretion of numerous xenobiotics. Reduction of bile salt secretion and absence of biliary GSH excretion may contribute to impaired bile flow and posthepatic disorders associated with biliary GSH depletion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / biosynthesis*
  • Animals
  • Bile / physiology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Glutathione / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Organic Anion Transporters / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Abcc2 protein, rat
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Slco1a4 protein, rat
  • Glutathione