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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1997 Feb;280(2):669-76.

Active transport of nitrofurantoin across a mouse mammary epithelial monolayer.

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Department of Physiology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262, USA.


The antibiotic nitrofurantoin is transported against an electrochemical gradient into milk. A monolayer of CIT3 cells, a subline of the Comma 1D normal mouse mammary epithelial cell line, transports [14C]-nitrofurantoin against a concentration gradient from the basal to the apical solution when grown on membrane filters. In a side-by-side diffusion chamber with well-stirred solutions on both sides, the transfer rate is 50% higher in the basal-to-apical than in the apical-to-basal direction. Nonlabeled nitrofurantoin (500 microM) in the basal chamber equalized the transport in both directions, suggesting that a specific transporter is responsible for the basal-to-apical increment in flux. From inhibition studies, the apparent affinity of this transporter for nitrofurantoin is 50 microM. Changes in pH between 6.4 and 7.8 had no effect on the active transport component of the flux but did affect the passive flux component. Passive flux of the nonionized molecule was 2.6 times faster than that of the ionized molecule, but the ionized molecule did appear to cross the membrane passively. Our findings show that nitrofurantoin is actively transported across a mammary epithelial cell monolayer by a transporter whose affinity for nitrofurantoin does not depend on the anionic charge on nitrofurantoin. The pH dependence of a parallel passive pathway suggests that both nonionized and ionized forms of nitrofurantoin cross the membranes of the mammary epithelial cell by passive diffusion.

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