05/08/2012 - Role of transporters in drug ADME

Digoxin is not a Substrate for Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptide Transporters OATP1A2, OATP1B1, OATP1B3, and OATP2B1 but is a Substrate for a Sodium Dependent Transporter Expressed in HEK293 Cells

Taub ME, Mease KM, Sane RS, Watson CA, Chen L, Ellens H, Hirakawa BP, Reyner EL, Jani M, Lee CA. Drug Metab Dispos. 2011 Aug 17.


Digoxin, an orally administered cardiac glycoside cardiovascular drug, has a narrow therapeutic window. Circulating digoxin levels (maximal concentration of ∼1.5 ng/ml) require careful monitoring, and the potential for drug-drug interactions (DDI) is a concern. Increases in digoxin plasma exposure caused by inhibition of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) have been reported. Digoxin has also been described as a substrate of various organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) transporters, posing a risk that inhibition of OATPs may result in a clinically relevant DDI similar to what has been observed for P-gp. Although studies in rats have shown that Oatps contribute to the disposition of digoxin, the role of OATPs in the disposition of digoxin in humans has not been clearly defined. Using two methods, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, and Solvo observed that digoxin is not a substrate of OATP1A2, OATP1B1, OATP1B3, and OATP2B1. However, digoxin inhibited the uptake of probe substrates of OATP1B1 (IC(50) of 47 μM), OATP1B3 (IC(50) > 8.1 μM), and OATP2B1 (IC(50) > 300 μM), but not OATP1A2 in transfected cell lines. It is interesting to note that digoxin is a substrate of a sodium-dependent transporter endogenously expressed in HEK293 cells because uptake of digoxin was significantly greater in cells incubated with sodium-fortified media compared with incubations conducted in media in which sodium was absent. Thus, although digoxin is not a substrate for the human OATP transporters evaluated in this study, in addition to P-gp-mediated efflux, its uptake and pharmacokinetic disposition may be partially facilitated by a sodium-dependent transporter.

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