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Drug Metab Dispos. 2010 Jan;38(1):168-76. doi: 10.1124/dmd.109.029454.

Functional characterization of mouse organic anion transporting peptide 1a4 in the uptake and efflux of drugs across the blood-brain barrier.

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


This study investigated the role of a multispecific organic anion transporter, Oatp1a4/Slco1a4, in drug transport across the blood-brain barrier. In vitro transport studies using human embryonic kidney 293 cells expressing mouse Oatp1a4 identified the following compounds as Oatp1a4 substrates: pitavastatin (K(m) = 8.3 microM), rosuvastatin (K(m) = 12 microM), pravastatin, taurocholate (K(m) = 40 microM), digoxin, ochratoxin A, and [d-penicillamine(2,5)]-enkephalin. Double immunohistochemical staining of Oatp1a4 with P-glycoprotein (P-gp) or glial fibrillary acidic protein demonstrated that Oatp1a4 signals colocalized with P-gp signals partly but not with glial fibrillary acidic protein, suggesting that Oatp1a4 is expressed in both the luminal and the abluminal membranes of mouse brain capillary endothelial cells. The brain-to-blood transport of pitavastatin, rosuvastatin, pravastatin, and taurocholate after microinjection into the cerebral cortex was significantly decreased in Oatp1a4(-/-) mice compared with that in wild-type mice. The blood-to-brain transport of pitavastatin, rosuvastatin, taurocholate, and ochratoxin A, determined by in situ brain perfusion, was significantly lower in Oatp1a4(-/-) mice than in wild-type mice, whereas transport of pravastatin and [D-penicillamine(2,5)]-enkephalin was unchanged. The blood-to-brain transport of digoxin was significantly lower in Oatp1a4(-/-) mice than in wild-type mice only when P-gp was inhibited by N-(4-[2-(1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-6,7-dimethoxy-2-isoquinolinyl)ethyl]-phenyl)-9,10-dihydro-5-methoxy-9-oxo-4-acridine carboxamide (GF120918). Taken together, these results show that Oatp1a4 can mediate the brain-to-blood and blood-to-brain transport of its substrate drugs across the blood-brain barrier. The brain-to-plasma ratio of taurocholate, pitavastatin, and rosuvastatin was close to the capillary volume in wild-type mice, and it was not affected by Oatp1a4 dysfunction. Whether Oatp1a4 can deliver drugs from the blood to the brain remains controversial.

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