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Vectorial transport of unconjugated and conjugated bile salts by monolayers of LLC-PK1 cells doubly transfected with human NTCP and BSEP or with rat Ntcp and Bsep.

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  • 1Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Na(+)-taurocholate-cotransporting peptide (NTCP)/SLC10A1 and bile salt export pump (BSEP)/ABCB11 synergistically play an important role in the transport of bile salts by the hepatocyte. In this study, we transfected human NTCP and BSEP or rat Ntcp and Bsep into LLC-PK1 cells, a cell line devoid of bile salts transporters. Transport by these cells was characterized with a focus on substrate specificity between rats and humans. The basal to apical flux of taurocholate across NTCP- and BSEP-expressing LLC-PK1 monolayers was 10 times higher than that in the opposite direction, whereas the flux across the monolayer of control and NTCP or BSEP single-expressing cells did not show any vectorial transport. The basal to apical flux of taurocholate was saturated with a K(m) value of 20 microM. Vectorial transcellular transport was also observed for cholate, chenodeoxycholate, ursodeoxycholate, their taurine and glycine conjugates, and taurodeoxycholate and glycodeoxycholate, whereas no transport of lithocholate was detected. To evaluate the respective functions of NTCP and BSEP and to compare them with those of rat Ntcp and Bsep, we calculated the clearance by each transporter in this system. A good correlation in the clearance of the examined bile salts (cholate, chenodeoxycholate, ursodeoxycholate, and their taurine or glycine conjugates) was observed between transport by human and that of rat transporters in terms of their rank order: for NTCP, taurine conjugates > glycine conjugates > unconjugated bile salts, and for BSEP, unconjugated bile salts and glycine conjugates > taurine conjugates. In conclusion, the substrate specificity of human and rat NTCP and BSEP appear to be very similar at least for monovalent bile salts under physiological conditions.

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