11/06/2009 - Role of transporters in drug toxicity

Effect of membrane cholesterol on BSEP/Bsep activity - species specificity studies for substrates and inhibitors

E. Kis, E. Ioja, T. Nagy, K. Herédi-Szabó and P. Krajcsi

Drug Metab Dispos. 2009 Sep;37(9):1878-86. Epub 2009 Jun 11.


The efflux transporter responsible for the canalicular elimination of bile salts from the hepatocytes is the bile salt export pump (BSEP, ABCB11). Absence or inhibition of this transporter leads to bile salt retention in the hepatocyte and in turn can lead to cholestatic liver disease. We expressed the BSEP/Bsep protein from three species (human, rat, and mouse) in a baculovirus-infected Sf9 system. Vesicles prepared from these cells were used to evaluate bile salt transport of four conjugated bile salts. Because the Sf9 system contains less membrane cholesterol than the liver canalicular membrane, the effect of added cholesterol on the kinetics of BSEP/Bsep-mediated bile salt transport was also investigated. Cholesterol treatment increased the V(max) values in all the species, with the most pronounced effect observed in the rat transporter. In contrast, K(m) values, with the exception of glycochenodeoxycholate, remained largely unchanged. The species-specific bile salt transport inhibition potential of three compounds known to cause clinical cholestasis was investigated in vesicles containing BSEP/Bsep. Troglitazone and glibenclamide inhibited the BSEP/Bsep-mediated transport of different bile salts with similar affinities, whereas the potential of cyclosporine A to inhibit bile salt transport showed species- and bile salt-specific variations. In conclusion, the cholesterol-loaded Sf9 vesicles overexpressing BSEP/Bsep seem to be a useful system for the identification of potential cholestatic compounds and can also be used for the investigation of species specificity. We observed greater differences in IC(50) values for inhibitors than in K(m) values for substrates between species.

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