Xenobiotic transporters and kidney injury

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2017 Jul 1;116:73-91. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2017.01.005. Epub 2017 Jan 20.


Renal proximal tubules are targets for toxicity due in part to the expression of transporters that mediate the secretion and reabsorption of xenobiotics. Alterations in transporter expression and/or function can enhance the accumulation of toxicants and sensitize the kidneys to injury. This can be observed when xenobiotic uptake by carrier proteins is increased or efflux of toxicants and their metabolites is reduced. Nephrotoxic chemicals include environmental contaminants (halogenated hydrocarbon solvents, the herbicide paraquat, the fungal toxin ochratoxin, and heavy metals) as well as pharmaceuticals (certain beta-lactam antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and chemotherapeutic drugs). This review explores the mechanisms by which transporters mediate the entry and exit of toxicants from renal tubule cells and influence the degree of kidney injury. Delineating how transport proteins regulate the renal accumulation of toxicants is critical for understanding the likelihood of nephrotoxicity resulting from competition for excretion or genetic polymorphisms that affect transporter function.

Keywords: BCRP; MATE1; MATE2-K; MDR1; MRP2; OAT; OCT2; OCTN2; Transporters.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Humans
  • Kidney* / metabolism
  • Kidney* / pathology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins*
  • Xenobiotics / pharmacokinetics*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Xenobiotics