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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2001 Jun;297(3):861-7.

Human liver-specific organic anion transporter, LST-1, mediates uptake of pravastatin by human hepatocytes.

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  • 1Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratories, Sankyo Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.


Involvement of LST-1 (a human liver-specific transporter, also called OATP2) as the major transporter in the uptake of pravastatin, a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor, by human liver was demonstrated. The hepatic uptake of pravastatin evaluated using human hepatocytes was Na(+)-independent and reached saturation with a Michaelis constant (K(m)) of 11.5 +/- 2.2 microM. The uptake of pravastatin was temperature-dependent and was inhibited by estradiol-17beta-D-glucuronide, taurocholic acid, bromosulfophthalein, and simvastatin acid, but not by p-aminohippurate. Estradiol-17beta-D-glucuronide competitively inhibited pravastatin uptake with an inhibition constant comparable to the K(m) value for estradiol-17beta-D-glucuronide transport, indicating that a common transporter mediates the transport of pravastatin and estradiol-17beta-D-glucuronide in human hepatocytes. The results obtained with human hepatocytes agreed with those obtained with LST-1 expressing Xenopus oocytes. Oocytes microinjected with human liver polyadenylated mRNA showed Na(+)-independent uptake of pravastatin and estradiol-17beta-D-glucuronide. A simultaneous injection of LST-1 antisense oligonucleotides completely abolished this uptake. Expression of LST-1 was immunohistochemically demonstrated in the human hepatocytes, but not in Hep G2 cells, which showed very low uptake of pravastatin. Therefore, LST-1 was regarded as a key molecule for pravastatin in liver-specific inhibition of cholesterol synthesis, making pravastatin accessible to the target enzyme, which would otherwise not be inhibited by this hydrophilic drug.

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