Characterization of OATP1B3 and OATP2B1 Transporter Expression in the Islet of the Adult Human Pancreas
Histochemistry and Cell Biology
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Organic anion-transporting polypeptides (OATPs) are membrane proteins that mediate cellular uptake of structurally diverse endogenous and exogenous compounds, including bile salts, thyroid and sex hormones, pharmacological agents, and toxins. Roles of OATPs in human liver are well established. Our recent report suggested the presence of the hepatic transporter OATP1B3 in human β cells. The aim of this study was to better characterize cellular localization and interindividual variation in OATP1B3 expression in human adult islets as a function of age, sex, and pancreatic disease, and to assess the expression of other OATPs. High transcript levels of OATP1B3, OATP2B1, OATP1A2, but not OATP1B1 were observed in isolated human adult islets. While OATP1B3 protein expression was variable, the carrier co-localized more frequently with glucagon-positive α cells than insulin-positive β cells in islets of normal pancreatic tissues from ten subjects using dual immunostaining. Moreover, OATP1B3 co-staining with endocrine cells was two- to three-fold higher in older (≥60 years) than younger (<60 >years) subjects. In comparison, in a subset of three individuals, OATP2B1 was primarily found in β cells, suggesting a distinct expression pattern for OATP1B3 and OATP2B1 in islets. Abundant OATP1B3 staining was also observed in islet as well as ductal cells of diseased tissues of patients with pancreatitis or pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Considering the abundance of key OATP carriers in β and α cells, potential implications of OATP transport in islet cell function may be suggested. Future studies are needed to gain insights into their specific endocrine roles as well as pharmacological relevance.