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Eur J Pharm Sci. 2017 Aug 30;106:302-312. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2017.06.010. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

β2-adrenergic receptor-mediated in vitro regulation of human hepatic drug transporter expression by epinephrine.

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Institut de Recherches en Santé, Environnement et Travail (IRSET), UMR INSERM U1085, Faculté de Pharmacie, 2 Avenue du Pr Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes, France.
Centre de Pharmacocinétique, Technologie Servier, 25-27 Rue Eugène Vignat, 45000 Orléans, France.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Hospital Zurich, University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland.
Institut de Recherches en Santé, Environnement et Travail (IRSET), UMR INSERM U1085, Faculté de Pharmacie, 2 Avenue du Pr Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes, France; Pôle Biologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, 2 Rue Henri Le Guilloux, 35033 Rennes, France. Electronic address:


The catecholamine epinephrine is known to repress expression of hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes such as cytochromes P-450. The present study was designed to determine whether epinephrine may also target expression of main hepatic drug transporters, that play a major role in liver detoxification and are commonly coordinately regulated with drug detoxifying enzymes. Treatment of primary human hepatocytes with 10μM epinephrine for 24h repressed mRNA expression of various transporters, such as the sinusoidal influx transporters NTCP, OATP1B1, OATP2B1, OAT2, OAT7 and OCT1 and the efflux transporters MRP2, MRP3 and BSEP, whereas it induced that of MDR1, but failed to alter that of BCRP. Most of these changes in transporter mRNA levels were also found in epinephrine-exposed human highly-differentiated hepatoma HepaRG cells, which additionally exhibited reduced protein expression of OATP2B1 and MRP3, increased expression of P-glycoprotein and decreased transport activity of NTCP, OATPs and OCT1. Epinephrine effects towards transporter mRNA expression in human hepatocytes were next shown to be correlated to those of the selective β2-adrenoreceptor (ADR) agonist fenoterol, of the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin and of the cAMP analogue 8-bromo-cAMP. In addition, the non-selective β-ADR antagonist carazolol and the selective β2-ADR antagonist ICI-118,551, unlike the α-ADR antagonist phentolamine, suppressed epinephrine-mediated repressions of transporter mRNA expression. Taken together, these data indicate that epinephrine regulates in vitro expression of main hepatic drug transporters in a β2-ADR/adenylate cyclase/cAMP-dependent manner. Hepatic drug transport appears therefore as a target of the β2-adrenergic system, which may have to deserve attention for drugs interacting with β2-ADRs.


Drug transporters; Epinephrine; Hepatocyte; cAMP; β2-adrenoreceptor

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