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J Lipid Res. 1999 Sep;40(9):1604-17.

Substrate specificity of the ileal and the hepatic Na(+)/bile acid cotransporters of the rabbit. I. Transport studies with membrane vesicles and cell lines expressing the cloned transporters.

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DG Metabolic Diseases, Hoechst Marion Roussel Deutschland GmbH, D-65926 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


The substrate specificity of the ileal and the hepatic Na(+)/bile acid cotransporters was determined using brush border membrane vesicles and CHO cell lines permanently expressing the Na(+)/bile acid cotransporters from rabbit ileum or rabbit liver. The hepatic transporter showed a remarkably broad specificity for interaction with cholephilic compounds in contrast to the ileal system. The anion transport inhibitor diisothiocyanostilbene disulfonate (DIDS) is a strong inhibitor of the hepatic Na(+)/bile acid cotransporter, but does not show any affinity to its ileal counterpart. Inhibition studies and uptake measurements with about 40 different bile acid analogues differing in the number, position, and stereochemistry of the hydroxyl groups at the steroid nucleus resulted in clear structure;-activity relationships for the ileal and hepatic bile acid transporters. The affinity to the ileal and hepatic Na(+)/bile acid cotransport systems and the uptake rates by cell lines expressing those transporters as well as rabbit ileal brush border membrane vesicles is primarily determined by the substituents on the steroid nucleus. Two hydroxy groups at position 3, 7, or 12 are optimal whereas the presence of three hydroxy groups decreased affinity. Vicinal hydroxy groups at positions 6 and 7 or a shift of the 7-hydroxy group to the 6-position significantly decreased the affinity to the ileal transporter in contrast to the hepatic system. 6-Hydroxylated bile acid derivatives are preferred substrates of the hepatic Na(+)/bile acid cotransporter. Surprisingly, the 3alpha-hydroxy group being present in all natural bile acids is not essential for high affinity interaction with the ileal and the hepatic bile acid transporter. The 3alpha-hydroxy group seems to be necessary for optimal transport of a bile acid across the hepatocyte canalicular membrane. A modification of bile acids at the 3-position therefore conserves the bile acid character thus determining the 3-position of bile acids as the ideal position for drug targeting strategies using bile acid transport pathways.

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