Hepatic disposition of bromosulfophthalein (BSP), bilirubin and bile salts partially overlap, as these anions
share both uptake and excretion mechanisms. Multiple organic anion transporters mediate hepatic BSP uptake, i.e.
members of the SLCO and SLC22 gene families and bilitranslocase (TCDB #2.A.65.1.1). This study aimed at evaluating
the relative contribution of bilitranslocase in BSP uptake in precision-cut human and rat liver slices. To this purpose, two
different anti-sequence bilitranslocase antibodies were used as specific, functional inhibitors of bilitranslocase. The intact
liver physiology was accurately reproduced in this BSP uptake assay, since uptake was strongly temperature-dependent
and inhibited by hepatotropic organic anions, such as 50 nM bilirubin, 1 μM nicotinic acid, 2 μM digoxin, 5 μM
indocyanine green and 100 μM taurocholate. The bilitranslocase antibodies inhibited BSP uptake both in rat and human
liver slices. The combined use of bilitranslocase antibodies and taurocholate caused additive-type inhibition, confirming
that bilitranslocase is not a bile salt transporter; by contrast, bilirubin caused no additive-type inhibition. In conclusion this
data, indicate the role of the bilirubin transporter bilitranslocase as one of the transporters involved in the uptake of anions
like BSP in parallel with other organic anion carriers. Moreover this data indicate the value of precision-cut liver slices for
phenotypic drug uptake studies.