Disposition of ezetimibe is influenced by polymorphisms of the hepatic uptake carrier OATP1B1

Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2008 Jul;18(7):559-68. doi: 10.1097/FPC.0b013e3282fe9a2c.


Objectives: Genetic variability in hepatic uptake was recently shown to influence the disposition and cholesterol-lowering effects of statins. Ezetimibe, an inhibitor of the intestinal cholesterol uptake protein Niemann-Pick C 1 like 1, is another drug for which genetic polymorphisms of hepatic organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs) are expected to be of clinical relevance because ezetimibe undergoes intensive enterohepatic circulation for which hepatic uptake transporters may be rate-limiting determinants.

Methods: Using OATP1B3-, OATP2B1-, and OATP1B1-transfected HEK cells, including the OATP1B1 variants OATP1B1*1b and OATP1B1*5, we measured the uptake of ezetimibe and its glucuronide and we analyzed the competition with the common OATP-substrate bromosulfophthalein. Disposition and sterol-lowering effects of 20-mg ezetimibe were measured in 35 healthy participants genotyped for OATP1B1, ABCB1, ABCC2, and UGT1A1.

Results: Ezetimibe glucuronide inhibited bromosulfophthalein uptake in all OATP-transfected cells (50% inhibitory concentration (IC50): 0.14-0.26 mumol/l) whereas ezetimibe was 30-100 times less potent. Only the glucuronide was accumulated significantly in cells expressing OATP1B1 and OATP2B1. Its uptake in cells expressing OATP1B1*1b and *5 was reduced. In-vivo studies showed there was a gene-dose-dependent decrease in the area under the curve of ezetimibe in participants with the OATP1B1*1b protein (*1a/*1a, N=12, 112+/-66 ngxh/ml vs. *1a/*1b, N=8, 88+/-39 ngxh/ml vs. *1b/*1b, N=5, 55+/-18 ngxh/ml; Jonkheere-Terpstra, P=0.041) and a tendency for increased glucuronide exposure (704+/-296 vs. 878+/-369 vs. 1059+/-363 ngxh/ml; P=0.092). Fecal ezetimibe excretion was significantly decreased whereas renal glucuronide excretion was increased in carriers of *1b/*1b. Fecal excretion was also diminished in carriers of OATP1B1*5 and *15. The sterol-lowering effect of ezetimibe was not influenced by OATP1B1 polymorphisms.

Conclusion: Pharmacokinetics of ezetimibe is influenced by OATP1B1 polymorphisms in healthy participants after single dose administration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Azetidines / administration & dosage
  • Azetidines / pharmacokinetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Ezetimibe
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic / genetics*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver-Specific Organic Anion Transporter 1
  • Male
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 2
  • Organic Anion Transporters / genetics*
  • Organic Anion Transporters / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Sterols / metabolism
  • Sulfobromophthalein / pharmacokinetics


  • ABCC2 protein, human
  • Azetidines
  • Liver-Specific Organic Anion Transporter 1
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 2
  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • SLCO1B1 protein, human
  • Sterols
  • Sulfobromophthalein
  • Ezetimibe