Variations in ATP-binding cassette transporter regulation during the progression of human nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Rhiannon N. Hardwick, Craig D. Fisher, Mark J. Canet, George L. Scheffer, Nathan J. Cherrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Transporters located on the sinusoidal and canalicular membranes of hepatocytes regulate the efflux of drugs and metabolites into blood and bile, respectively. Changes in the expression or function of these transporters during liver disease may lead to a greater risk of adverse drug reactions. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a progressive condition encompassing the relatively benign steatosis and the more severe, inflammatory state of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Here, we present an analysis of the effect of NAFLD progression on the major ATP-binding cassette (ABC) efflux transport proteins ABCC1-6, ABCB1, and ABCG2. Human liver samples diagnosed as normal, steatotic, NASH (fatty), and NASH (not fatty) were analyzed. Increasing trends in mRNA expression of ABCC1, ABCC4-5, ABCB1, and ABCG2 were found with NAFLD progression, whereas protein levels of all transporters exhibited increasing trends with disease progression. Immunohistochemical staining of ABCC3, ABCB1, and ABCG2 revealed no alterations in cellular localization during NAFLD progression. ABCC2 staining revealed an alternative mechanism of regulation in NASH in which the transporter appears to be internalized away from the canalicular membrane. This correlated with a preferential shift in the molecular mass of ABCC2 from 200 to 180 kDa in NASH, which has been shown to be associated with a loss of glycosylation and internalization of the protein. These data demonstrate increased expression of multiple efflux transporters as well as altered cellular localization of ABCC2 in NASH, which may have profound effects on the ability of patients with NASH to eliminate drugs in an appropriate manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2395-2402
Number of pages8
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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