Impact of Extracellular and Intracellular Diffusion on Hepatic Uptake Kinetics

  • Richard A. Weisiger


The selective transport of small molecules is among the most fundamental functions of living cells. Selectivity is largely due to the plasma membrane, which contains carrier proteins that increase the permeability of many molecules. However, not all molecules require carriers. Molecules that are sufficiently hydrophobic can easily dissolve in the membrane core, but have much greater difficulty crossing the aqueous layers on either side of the plasma membrane (Figure 16.1). For many such molecules, transport across these intra- and extracellular water layers may limit the uptake rate under physiologic circumstances. In response to this limitation, organisms have evolved aqueous carrier systems (the soluble binding proteins) that catalyze the transport of poorly soluble molecules across these water layers. This chapter will discuss these transport processes and how soluble carrier systems may influence the observed uptake kinetics. It shall be argued that plasma and cytosolic binding proteins represent true carrier systems, producing all of the features of carrier-mediated kinetics. Failure to consider these carrier systems can lead to misinterpretation of uptake data.


Bile Acid Organic Anion Bile Secretion Liver Plasma Membrane Bile Acid Transport 
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  • Richard A. Weisiger

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