Human multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) is a cellular efflux transporter for paracetamol glutathione and cysteine conjugates
Archives of Toxicology
Paracetamol (acetaminophen, APAP) overdose is a leading cause of acute drug-induced liver failure. APAP hepatotoxicity is mediated by the reactive metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI). NAPQI is inactivated by conjugation with glutathione (GSH) to APAP-GSH, which is further converted into its cysteine derivative APAP-CYS. Before necrosis of hepatocytes occurs, APAP-CYS is measurable in plasma of the affected patient and it has been proposed as an early biomarker of acetaminophen
... acetaminophen toxicity. APAP-GSH and APAP-CYS can be extruded by hepatocytes, but the transporters involved are unknown. In this study we examined whether ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play a role in the cellular efflux of APAP, APAP-GSH, and APAP-CYS. The ABC transport proteins P-gp/ABCB1, BSEP/ABCB11, BCRP/ABCG2, and MRP/ABCC1-5 were overexpressed in HEK293 cells and membrane vesicles were produced. Whereas P-gp, BSEP, MRP3, MRP5, and BCRP did not transport any of the compounds, uptake of APAP-GSH was found for MRP1, MRP2 and MRP4. APAP-CYS appeared to be a substrate of MRP4 and none of the ABC proteins transported APAP. The results suggest that the NAPQI metabolite APAP-CYS can be excreted into plasma by MRP4, where it could be a useful biomarker for APAP exposure and toxicity. Characterization of the cellular efflux of APAP-CYS is important for its development as a biomarker, because plasma concentrations might be influenced by drug-transporter interactions and upregulation of MRP4.