Xenobiotic and endobiotic transporter MRNA expression in the blood-testis barrier

Lisa M. Augustine, Robert J. Markelewicz, Kim Boekelheide, Nathan J. Cherrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


A major function of xenobiotic and endobiotic transporters is to move a wide range of organic substances across cell membranes. Sertoli cells play an important role in protecting developing germ cells by forming a physiological barrier, limiting exposure to potentially toxic substrates, or conversely, facilitating uptake of xenobiotics within the testis. The aim of this study was to quantitatively determine the constitutive expression of various transporters in isolated Sertoli cells from adult Sprague-Dawley rats. The following mRNA levels were measured in isolated Sertoli cells by the branched DNA signal amplification method, multidrug resistance (Mdr) protein 1a, 1b, and 2; multiple drug resistance protein (Mrp) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8; sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide; bile salt excretory protein; ileal bile acid transporter; AbcG5 and AbcG8; organic anion transporting polypeptide (Oatp) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 12; prostaglandin transporter (Pgt); testis-specific transporter (Tst) 1 and Tst2; organic anion transporter (Oat) 1, 2, 3, and K; organic cation transporter (Oct) 1, 2, 3, N1, and N2; divalent metal transporter (Dmt) 1, Menke's, and Wilson's; zinc transporter (Znt) 1; equilibrative nucleoside transporter (Ent) 1 and 2; concentrative nucleoside transporter (Cnt) 1 and 2; and peptide transporter (Pept) 1 and 2. Levels were also determined in whole testis, liver, kidney, and ileum to provide a reference for determining relative expression levels. Mrp8, Tst1 and 2, and Ent1 and 2 were expressed in Sertoli cells at higher levels than in liver, kidney, or ileum, whereas Mrp1, 5, and 7, Mdr2, Oatp3, Oat2, OctN2, Dmt1, Menke's, Wilson's, and Znt1 were all significantly expressed in Sertoli cells, but Sertoli cell expression was not the tissue of highest expression. The remaining transporters were expressed at low levels in isolated Sertoli cells. Additionally, expression levels of Mrp1, Mrp7, Mrp8, Tst1, Tst2, OctN2, Wilson's, Znt1, Ent1, and Ent2 were greater in isolated Sertoli cells than in whole testis. Constitutive expression of transporters in Sertoli cells may provide an insight into the range of xenobiotics that can potentially be transported by Sertoli cells and thereby provide a mechanistic understanding of blood-testis barrier function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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