Hepatic drug transport in the rat. A comparison between isolated hepatocytes, the isolated perfused liver and the liver in vivo

Biochem Pharmacol. 1982 Apr 15;31(8):1553-65. doi: 10.1016/0006-2952(82)90380-x.


The hepatic transport of three different drugs, the organic anion dibromosulphophthalein, the organic cation d-tubocurarine and the uncharged compound ouabain was studied in vivo in the isolated perfused rat liver and isolated hepatocytes. The respective clearances by uptake were determined for the various substrates and corrected for differences in hepatic blood flow and extracellular protein binding in the three liver preparations. The corrected uptake values in the intact organ, in vivo and in the isolated perfused liver were highly comparable; for dibromosulphophthalein a clearance of 2.1 ml/min per 10(6) hepatocytes was found in vivo, whereas in perfusion a value of 2.4 ml/min per 10(6) cells was calculated. For d-tubocurarine, the values were 34 x 10 (-4) and 55 x 10(-4) ml/min per 10(6) cells obtained in vivo and in the isolated perfused organ, respectively. With ouabain as the substrate, the in vivo clearance amounted to 5.1 x 10(-2), whereas in the isolated perfused liver a value of 4.8 x 10(-2) ml/min per 10(6) cells was calculated. The clearance by uptake obtained for dibromosulphophthalein was ouabain in the isolated hepatocytes appeared to be a factor of 2-3 lower than in the intact organ. In the case of d-tubocurarine however the clearance was identical to that in vivo and the isolated perfused liver. The rate of secretion from isolated hepatocytes was, for dibromosulphophthalein identical to, and for d-tubocurarine and ouabain lower than that in the intact organ, especially as compared with the in vivo preparation. It is concluded that transport function is well preserved in the isolated perfused liver and isolated hepatocytes. For certain substrates freshly isolated hepatocytes may exhibit a somewhat lower uptake and/or secretion rate, in spite of a good cell quality as judged by generally accepted criteria for cell viability. Whether this is due to changes in membrane composition (not detected by our viability tests) or a selection of a subpopulation of hepatocytes, is discussed.U

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anions
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Biological Transport
  • Cations
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Ouabain / metabolism
  • Perfusion
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sulfobromophthalein / analogs & derivatives
  • Sulfobromophthalein / metabolism
  • Tubocurarine / metabolism


  • Anions
  • Cations
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Sulfobromophthalein
  • dibromosulphthalein
  • Ouabain
  • Tubocurarine