Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant that is widely prescribed for epilepsy and other neuropathic disorders. The pharmacokinetics, particularly the absorption and renal elimination, of gabapentin appear to involve membrane transporters. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that organic cation transporter 1 (OCTN1), a multispecific transporter expressed at the apical membrane in intestine and kidney, plays a role in gabapentin pharmacokinetics and that the common variant of OCTN1, OCTN1-L503F, contributes to variation in the pharmacokinetics of the drug. We observed that OCTN1 facilitates the Na+-independent transport of gabapentin, and that the OCTN1-L503F variant is deficient in gabapentin transport activity in stably transfected HEK-293 cells (fourfold enhanced uptake of gabapentin by OCTN1-503L vs twofold enhanced uptake by OCTN1-L503F, compared to mock-transfected cells). In clinical studies, we found that in subjects homozygous for the L503F variant, gabapentin renal clearance (CL(R)) approximates the glomerular filtration rate (mean+/-SE: 110+/-12 ml/min, n=9), whereas in subjects homozygous for the reference allele, gabapentin undergoes net secretion in the kidney (141+/-7.8 ml/min, n=11, P<0.05). Creatinine clearance and OCTN1 genotype accounted for 56% of the variation in CL(R) and were the only significant predictors of CL(R) (P<0.05). Importantly, OCTN1 genotype was the only significant predictor of net secretion of gabapentin (P<0.008). Oral bioavailability of gabapentin was not affected by OCTN1 genotype. We conclude that OCTN1 contributes to active tubular secretion of gabapentin, and that this effect may be diminished or absent in individuals carrying the OCTN1-L503F polymorphism. These results provide clinical evidence of the role of genetic variation in renal drug transporters in active drug secretion in vivo.
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