Cisplatin, an effective antineoplastic agent, is toxic to the kidney. Since the kidney's vulnerability to cisplatin may originate in its ability to accumulate and retain platinum to a greater degree than other organs, we studied the characteristics of the renal accumulation of platinum and investigated the nature of intracellular platinum. Cisplatin and ethylenediammine-dichloroplatinum, nephrotoxic and antineoplastic liganded platinum compounds, were concentrated in rat renal cortical slices fivefold above medium concentration. Platinum uptake was energy- and temperature-dependent and could be inhibited by drugs which inhibit base transport. The organic anions para-aminohippurate and pyrazinoate did not reduce renal slice platinum uptake. Unbound platinum in the blood and urine was predominantly cisplatin but unbound platinum in kidney cytosol was not. This latter compound, in contrast to cisplatin, was not active as a mutagen. These studies suggest that the kidney accumulates platinum in part by transport or specific binding to the base transport system in the kidney and biotransforms it intracellularly. Unbound platinum in the cell is not cisplatin and may no longer be toxic.
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