Roles of organic anion/cation transporters at the blood-brain and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barriers involving uremic toxins

Clin Exp Nephrol. 2011 Aug;15(4):478-85. doi: 10.1007/s10157-011-0460-y. Epub 2011 May 25.


The blood-brain barrier (BBB) and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BCSFB) play key roles in the influx and efflux transport of endogenous substrates in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid. The organic anion transporter (OAT) 3 and organic cation transporter (OCT) 3, which belong to the solute carrier (SLC) 22A family, are expressed at the BBB and BCSFB, and regulate the excretion of endogenous and exogenous organic anions and cations. Our recent research provides novel molecular and functional evidence that indoxyl sulfate, an anionic uremic toxin, undergoes efflux transport at the BBB via OAT3 and creatinine, a uremic guanidino compound, undergoes efflux transport at the BCSFB via OCT3. Renal impairment is associated with the accumulation of uremic toxins in blood and uremic encephalopathy. It is conceivable that uremic encephalopathy is related to inhibition or dysfunction of efflux transport systems for uremic toxins in the brain. Here, we review the function of OAT3 and OCT3 at the BBB and BCSFB in the context of their roles in the progression of renal failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Diseases, Metabolic / physiopathology
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / physiology*
  • Choroid Plexus / physiology
  • Creatinine / metabolism
  • Indican / metabolism
  • Ion Transport / physiology
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Organic Anion Transporters / physiology*
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent / metabolism
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Toxins, Biological / metabolism*


  • Organic Anion Transporters
  • Organic Anion Transporters, Sodium-Independent
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins
  • Toxins, Biological
  • organic anion transport protein 3
  • solute carrier family 22 (organic cation transporter), member 3
  • uremia middle molecule toxins
  • Creatinine
  • Indican