Background: Hepatic uptake of differently charged amphipathic endo- and xenobiotics is thought to occur via distinct carrier-mediated transport systems. Alternatively, a single rat organic anion transporting polypeptide (oatp) has recently been demonstrated to mediate hepatocellular uptake of differently charged amphipathic substrates.
Aim: To investigate whether a cloned human liver organic anion transporting polypeptide (OATP) also can mediate charge- and class-independent hepatocellular uptake of amphipathic substrates.
Methods: Xenopus laevis oocytes were injected with OATP-cRNA. Sodium-independent uptake of estrone-3-sulfate, ouabain and the organic cation N-(4,4-azo-n-pentyl)-21-ajmalinium was compared in OATP-expressing and uninjected (or water injected) control oocytes.
Results: Our results indicate that OATP, in addition to bromosulfophthalein and bile salts, can also transport anionic estrone-3-sulfate (Km approximately 59 microM), neutral ouabain (K(m) approximately 5.5 mM) and cationic N-(4,4-azo-n-pentyl)-21-ajmalinium. For each of these compounds, OATP-mediated uptake was cis-inhibited by the OATP substrate taurochenodeoxycholate and the transport activities correlated well with the amounts of cRNA injected.
Conclusion: Similar to the rat liver oatp, the human liver OATP can also mediate multispecific and charge-independent uptake of lipophilic amphipathic organic compounds. Thus, OATP may play an important role in the first pass clearance of drugs and other xenobiotics by the human liver.