09/15/2021 - Role of transporters in drug ADME

Interactions of anti-COVID-19 drug candidates with hepatic transporters may cause liver toxicity and affect pharmacokinetics

Csilla Ambrus, Éva Bakos, Balázs Sarkadi, Csilla Özvegy-Laczka, Ágnes Telbisz

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PMID: 34497279 PMCID:PMC8426393 DOI:10.1038/s41598-021-97160-3


Transporters in the human liver play a major role in the clearance of endo- and xenobiotics. Apical (canalicular) transporters extrude compounds to the bile, while basolateral hepatocyte transporters promote the uptake of, or expel, various compounds from/into the venous blood stream. In the present work we have examined the in vitro interactions of some key repurposed drugs advocated to treat COVID-19 (lopinavir, ritonavir, ivermectin, remdesivir and favipiravir), with the key drug transporters of hepatocytes. These transporters included ABCB11/BSEP, ABCC2/MRP2, and SLC47A1/MATE1 in the canalicular membrane, as well as ABCC3/MRP3, ABCC4/MRP4, SLC22A1/OCT1, SLCO1B1/OATP1B1, SLCO1B3/OATP1B3, and SLC10A1/NTCP, residing in the basolateral membrane. Lopinavir and ritonavir in low micromolar concentrations inhibited BSEP and MATE1 exporters, as well as OATP1B1/1B3 uptake transporters. Ritonavir had a similar inhibitory pattern, also inhibiting OCT1. Remdesivir strongly inhibited MRP4, OATP1B1/1B3, MATE1 and OCT1. Favipiravir had no significant effect on any of these transporters. Since both general drug metabolism and drug-induced liver toxicity are strongly dependent on the functioning of these transporters, the various interactions reported here may have important clinical relevance in the drug treatment of this viral disease and the existing co-morbidities.

© 2021. The Author(s).

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