Expression and localization of carnitine/organic cation transporter OCTN1 and OCTN2 in ocular epithelium.Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Nov; 49(11):4844-9.IO
The existence of an organic cation transport process in rabbit cornea and conjunctiva that mediates absorption of carnitine has previously been suggested. This study was conducted to determine the expression and localization of the carnitine/organic cation transporter (OCTN1 and OCTN2) in corneal or conjunctival epithelium.
Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used for OCTN1 and OCTN2 mRNA expression in cultured human corneal-limbal epithelial (HCLE) or human conjunctival epithelial (HCjE) cells. Immunofluorescence staining with polyclonal antibody against human OCTN1 or OCTN2 was performed to investigate transporter expression in ocular epithelial cells or rabbit corneal and conjunctival epithelium. Polarity of the transporter expression was determined using Western blot analysis of the apical or basal membrane proteins extracted from the cultured cells. Apical or basal uptake of [H(3)]-L-carnitine was determined using the polarized epithelial cells grown onto collagen-coated porous filter support.
OCTN1 and OCTN2 mRNA expression was detected in HCLE and HCjE cells of rabbits and humans. OCTN1 and OCTN2 were predominately localized in the apical membranes of the cells. HCLE and HCjE cells were able to take up L-carnitine; most carnitine uptake occurred through the apical surfaces.
This report is the first to document OCTN1 and OCTN2 expression in human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. These findings suggest potential involvement of OCTN1 and OCTN2 in the transport of carnitine in ocular tissues.