Hyperuricemia influences tryptophan metabolism via inhibition of multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)

Anita C A Dankers, Henricus A M Mutsaers, Henry B P M Dijkman, Lambertus P van den Heuvel, Joost G Hoenderop, Fred C G J Sweep, Frans G M Russel, Rosalinde Masereeuw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Hyperuricemia is related to a variety of pathologies, including chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying disease development are not yet fully elucidated. Here, we studied the effect of hyperuricemia on tryptophan metabolism and the potential role herein of two important uric acid efflux transporters, multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP). Hyperuricemia was induced in mice by treatment with the uricase inhibitor oxonic acid, confirmed by the presence of urate crystals in the urine of treated animals. A transport assay, using membrane vesicles of cells overexpressing the transporters, revealed that uric acid inhibited substrate-specific transport by BCRP at clinically relevant concentrations (calculated IC50 value: 365±13μM), as was previously reported for MRP4. Moreover, we identified kynurenic acid as a novel substrate for MRP4 and BCRP. This finding was corroborated by increased plasma levels of kynurenic acid observed in Mrp4(-/-) (107±19nM; P=0.145) and Bcrp(-/-) mice (133±10nM; P=0.0007) compared to wild type animals (71±11nM). Hyperuricemia was associated with >1.5 fold increase in plasma kynurenine levels in all strains. Moreover, hyperuricemia led to elevated plasma kynurenic acid levels (128±13nM, P=0.005) in wild type mice but did not further increase kynurenic acid levels in knockout mice. Based on our results, we postulate that elevated uric acid levels hamper MRP4 and BCRP functioning, thereby promoting the retention of other potentially toxic substrates, including kynurenic acid, which could contribute to the development of CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1715-22
Number of pages8
JournalBiochimica et biophysica acta
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • Biological Transport
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hyperuricemia
  • Kynurenic Acid
  • Lipocalins
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oxonic Acid
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tryptophan
  • Uric Acid

Cite this