Usefulness of kidney slices for functional analysis of apical reabsorptive transporters

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 9;7(1):12814. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12828-z.


Kidney plays a key role in the elimination and reabsorption of drugs and nutrients, however in vitro methods to evaluate renal disposition are limited. In the present study, we investigated usefulness of isolated kidney slice, which had been used for transport only at basolateral membrane of tubular epithelial cells, for evaluation of apical membrane transporters. As transporters that are easy to discriminate between apical and basolateral transports, apical membrane specific and sodium-dependent transporters (SGLTs and OCTNs) and pH-dependent transporters (PEPTs) are selected. Uptake of ergothioneine, carnitine and methyl-α-D-glucopyranoside, which are substrates of apical Octn1, Octn2, and Sglt1/2, respectively, by mice kidney slices showed clear Na+ dependence and reduction by selective inhibitors. In addition, sodium dependence of ergothioneine uptake was negligible in the kidney slice from Octn1-gene deficient mice. Moreover, uptake of PepT1/2 substrate glycyl-sarcosine, was higher than that in the presence of glycyl-leucine, a non-specific Pept inhibitor. The K m and IC 50 values for substrates and inhibitors of each transporter were mostly comparable to those obtained in transporter-transfected cells. In conclusion, it was demonstrated that kidney slices are promising tool to study transporters expressed at the apical membranes as well as basolateral membranes of kidney tubular epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Ergothioneine / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Tritium / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Tritium
  • Ergothioneine