Hepatocyte transport of bile acids and organic anions in endotoxemic rats: impaired uptake and secretion

Gastroenterology. 1997 Jan;112(1):214-25. doi: 10.1016/s0016-5085(97)70238-5.


Background & aims: In sepsis, intrahepatic cholestasis occurs frequently, suggesting impaired hepatocyte transport of bile acids and organic anions. The aim of the study was to define the magnitude, time course, and the site of impaired biliary secretion in a rat sepsis model.

Methods: Maximal transport for two bile acids (cholyltaurine and chenodeoxycholyltaurine) and two organic anions (sulfobromophthalein and sulfolithocholyltaurine) was measured in isolated perfused livers at various times after lipopolysaccharide injection. Basolateral and canalicular liver plasma membrane vesicles were used to characterize the impairment in hepatocyte transport.

Results: Maximal hepatocyte transport was reduced for all compounds by 60%-81% compared with controls. Bile acid-independent bile flow was reduced by 51%. Impairment was maximal 12 hours after endotoxin injection and recovered thereafter. In basolateral plasma membrane vesicles, sodium-dependent transport for bile acids was reduced by 36%-47%. Sodium-independent transport of organic anions was reduced by 40%-55%. Adenosine triphosphate-stimulated transport was greatly decreased in canalicular vesicles prepared from endotoxemic animals for all four compounds probably because of a reduced number of transport molecules, based on kinetic studies.

Conclusions: Basolateral and canalicular bile acid and organic anion transport are markedly impaired in endotoxemia. These mechanisms may contribute to the cholestasis of sepsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Bile / metabolism
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cholestasis / etiology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Taurochenodeoxycholic Acid / metabolism*
  • Taurocholic Acid / metabolism*


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Taurochenodeoxycholic Acid
  • Taurocholic Acid
  • Adenosine Triphosphate