Indexed on: 15 Mar '13Published on: 15 Mar '13Published in: Kidney International
Urea transporters (UTs) are a family of membrane channel proteins that are specifically permeable to urea and play an important role in intrarenal urea recycling and in urine concentration. Using an erythrocyte osmotic lysis assay, we screened a small-molecule library for inhibitors of UT-facilitated urea transport. A novel class of thienoquinolin UT-B inhibitors were identified, of which PU-14 had potent inhibition activity on human, rabbit, rat, and mouse UT-B. The half-maximal inhibitory concentration of PU-14 on rat UT-B-mediated urea transport was ∼0.8 μmol/l, and it did not affect urea transport in mouse erythrocytes lacking UT-B but inhibited UT-A-type urea transporters, with 36% inhibition at 4 μmol/l. PU-14 showed no significant cellular toxicity at concentrations up to its solubility limit of 80 μmol/l. Subcutaneous delivery of PU-14 (at 12.5, 50, and 100 mg/kg) to rats caused an increase of urine output and a decrease of the urine urea concentration and subsequent osmolality without electrolyte disturbances and liver or renal damages. This suggests that PU-14 has a diuretic effect by urea-selective diuresis. Thus, PU-14 or its analogs might be developed as a new diuretic to increase renal fluid clearance in diseases associated with water retention without causing electrolyte imbalance. PU-14 may establish 'chemical knockout' animal models to study the physiological functions of UTs.