Differential effects of metabolic inhibitors on cellular and mitochondrial uptake of organic cations in rat liver

Biochem Pharmacol. 1993 Feb 24;45(4):809-18. doi: 10.1016/0006-2952(93)90163-q.


The effects of several metabolic inhibitors on the uptake of tri-n-butylmethylammonium (TBuMA) were studied in isolated rat liver mitochondria, isolated rat hepatocytes and isolated perfused rat livers, in order to characterize further the mechanisms for carrier-mediated uptake and cellular accumulation of organic cations in the liver. Treatment of isolated hepatocytes with valinomycin, carbonylcyanide-m-chlorophenyl-hydrazone (CCCP), dinitrophenol, oligomycin or antimycin resulted in a rapid decrease in cellular ATP within 3 min of addition. The initial uptake rate of TBuMA was generally largely affected by these treatments. However, fructose at 10 mM had no effect at all on the uptake rate of the cation whereas cellular ATP was decreased to an extent comparable to that after treatment with the metabolic inhibitors. Consequently it was hypothesized that the metabolic inhibitors affected the initial cellular uptake rate of organic cations due to either altered intracellular sequestration (e.g. mitochondria) or alternatively to direct effects on the plasma membrane rather than by decreasing cellular ATP. Isolated rat mitochondria were shown to take up organic cations very efficiently. Accumulation in this organelle is probably driven by the negative membrane potential as measured by the uptake of the lipophilic cation [3H]tetraphenylphosphonium. Treatment of the isolated mitochondria with various metabolic inhibitors decreased the membrane potential in parallel to the effects on the uptake of TBuMA. Since mitochondria constitute a considerable intracellular volume, they may contribute largely to the storage of the organic cation in the hepatocyte. In isolated perfused livers, preloaded with either TBuMA or tetraphenylphosphonium (TPP+), the addition of valinomycin or CCCP leads to a marked backflux of the cations from the liver into the perfusion medium. This suggests strongly that a large part of the intracellular storage capacity is lost after metabolic inhibitor treatment, probably as the consequence of dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Since the metabolic inhibitors in contrast to TBuMA uptake did not decrease the initial uptake rate of TPP+ into isolated hepatocytes, it was concluded that mitochondrial uptake (mitochondria are the major storage sites for TPP+) is not an essential determinant of the initial uptake rate in intact hepatocytes.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / analysis
  • Animals
  • Carbonyl Cyanide m-Chlorophenyl Hydrazone / pharmacology
  • Cations / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Liver / metabolism*
  • Onium Compounds / metabolism
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / blood
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Valinomycin / pharmacology


  • Cations
  • Onium Compounds
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Valinomycin
  • tri-n-butylmethylammonium
  • Carbonyl Cyanide m-Chlorophenyl Hydrazone
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • tetraphenylphosphonium