The effect of acyclovir on the tubular secretion of creatinine in vitro

Patrina Gunness, Katarina Aleksa, Gideon Koren

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Background: While generally well tolerated, severe nephrotoxicity has been observed in some children receiving acyclovir. A pronounced elevation in plasma creatinine in the absence of other clinical manifestations of overt nephrotoxicity has been frequently documented. Several drugs have been shown to increase plasma creatinine by inhibiting its renal tubular secretion rather than by decreasing glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Creatinine and acyclovir may be transported by similar tubular transport mechanisms, thus, it is plausible that in some cases, the observed increase in plasma creatinine may be partially due to inhibition of tubular secretion of creatinine, and not solely due to decreased GFR. Our objective was to determine whether acyclovir inhibits the tubular secretion of creatinine.Methods: Porcine (LLC-PK1) and human (HK-2) renal proximal tubular cell monolayers cultured on microporous membrane filters were exposed to [2-14C] creatinine (5 μM) in the absence or presence of quinidine (1E+03 μM), cimetidine (1E+03 μM) or acyclovir (22 - 89 μM) in incubation medium.Results: Results illustrated that in evident contrast to quinidine, acyclovir did not inhibit creatinine transport in LLC-PK1 and HK-2 cell monolayers.Conclusions: The results suggest that acyclovir does not affect the renal tubular handling of creatinine, and hence, the pronounced, transient increase in plasma creatinine is due to decreased GFR, and not to a spurious increase in plasma creatinine.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


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