Involvement of γ-aminobutyric acid transporter 2 in the hepatic uptake of taurine in rats

Saori Ikeda, Masanori Tachikawa, Shin Ichi Akanuma, Jun Fujinawa, Ken Ichi Hosoya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Taurine is essential for the hepatic synthesis of bile salts and, although taurine is synthesized mainly in pericentral hepatocytes, taurine and taurine-conjugated bile acids are abundant in periportal hepatocytes. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is that the active supply of taurine to hepatocytes from the blood stream is a key regulatory factor. The purpose of the present study is to investigate and identify the transporter responsible for taurine uptake by periportal hepatocytes. An in vivo bolus injection of [ 3H]taurine into the rat portal vein demonstrated that 25% of the injected [ 3H]taurine was taken up by the liver on a single pass. The in vivo uptake was significantly inhibited by GABA, taurine, β-alanine, and nipecotic acid, a GABA transporter (GAT) inhibitor, each at a concentration of 10 mM. The characteristics of Na +- and Cl --dependent [ 3H]taurine uptake by freshly isolated rat hepatocytes were consistent with those of GAT2 (solute carrier SLC6A13). Indeed, the K m value of the saturable uptake (594 μM) was close to that of mouse SLC6A13-mediated taurine transport. Although GABA, taurine, and β-alanine inhibited the [ 3H]taurine uptake by > 50%, each at a concentration of 10 mM, GABA caused a marked inhibition with an IC50 value of 95 μM. The [ 3H]taurine uptake exhibited a significant reduction when the GAT2 gene was silenced. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that GAT2 was localized on the sinusoidal membrane of the hepatocytes predominantly in the periportal region. These results suggest that GAT2 is responsible for taurine transport from the circulating blood to hepatocytes predominantly in the periportal region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G291-G297
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 1


  • Carrier-mediated transport
  • Hepatocyte
  • Heterogenity
  • Periportal
  • Taurine conjugation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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