New insights in the biology of ABC transporters ABCC2 and ABCC3: impact on drug disposition

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2015 Feb;11(2):273-93. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2015.981152. Epub 2014 Nov 7.


Introduction: For the elimination of environmental chemicals and metabolic waste products, the body is equipped with a range of broad specificity transporters that are present in excretory organs as well as in several epithelial blood-tissue barriers.

Areas covered: ABCC2 and ABCC3 (also known as MRP2 and MRP3) mediate the transport of various conjugated organic anions, including many drugs, toxicants and endogenous compounds. This review focuses on the physiology of these transporters, their roles in drug disposition and how they affect drug sensitivity and toxicity. It also examines how ABCC2 and ABCC3 are coordinately regulated at the transcriptional level by members of the nuclear receptor (NR) family of ligand-modulated transcription factors and how this can be therapeutically exploited.

Expert opinion: Mutations in both ABCC2 and ABCC3 have been associated with changes in drug disposition, sensitivity and toxicity. A defect in ABCC2 is associated with Dubin-Johnson syndrome, a recessively inherited disorder characterized by conjugated hyperbilirubinemia. Pharmacological manipulation of the activity of these transporters can potentially improve the pharmacokinetics and thus therapeutic activity of substrate drugs but also affect the physiological function of these transporters and consequently ameliorate associated disease states.

Keywords: ABC transporters; cholestasis hepatobiliary transport; hyperbilirubinemia; nuclear receptors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Pharmacokinetics


  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 3
  • multidrug resistance-associated protein 2