06/11/2012 - Role of transporters in drug toxicity

BSEP inhibition – in vitro screens to assess cholestatic potential of drugs.

Emese Kis, Enikő Ioja, Zsuzsa Rajnai, Márton Jani, Dóra Méhn, Krisztina Herédi-Szabó, Peter Krajcsi Toxicol In Vitro. 2011 Nov 18.


Bile salt export pump (BSEP, ABC11) is a membrane protein that is localized in the cholesterol-rich canalicular membrane of hepatocytes. Its function is to eliminate unconjugated and conjugated bile acids/salts from hepatocyte into the bile. In humans there is no compensatory mechanism for the loss of this transporter. Mutations of BSEP result in a genetic disease, called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 2 (PFIC2), that is characterized with decreased biliary bile salt secretion, leading to decreased bile flow and accumulation of bile salts inside the hepatocyte, inflicting damage. BSEP inhibitor drugs produce similar bile salt retention that may lead to severe cholestasis and liver damage. Drug-induced liver injury is a relevant clinical issue, in severe cases ending in liver transplantation. Therefore, measurement of BSEP inhibition by candidate drugs has high importance in drug discovery and development. Although several methods are suitable to detect BSEP-drug interactions, due to interspecies differences in bile acid composition, differences in hepatobiliary transporter modulation, they have limitations. This review summarizes appropriate in vitro methods that could be able to predict BSEP-drug candidate interactions in humans before the start of clinical phases.

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