Many nephrotoxic agents exert their effect primarily on the cells of the proximal tubules. We used the LLC-$PK_1$, kidney epithelial cell line as a model system for studies on nephrotoxicity and investigated whether the uptake of $\alpha$-methylglucose($\alpha$-MG) could serve as a parameter to assess effects of nephrotoxicants on the functional integrity of the cells at an early time of toxicity. The enzyme leakage test which has been used to be as a conventional cytotoxic parameter in vitro, was conducted to compare with $\alpha$-MG uptake. Treatment with cisplatin for 24 and 48 hours significantly increased activities of lactate dehydrogenase and $\gamma$-glutamyltransferase in culture medium at a concentration of 50$\mu$M. However, above 100$\mu$M of concentration, activities of these enzymes in media were dramatically decreased by cisplatin. These observations indicate that cisplatin has direct inhibitory effect on the activities of these enzymes and make it doutful to use enzyme leakage test to demonstrate damage of kidney cells by chemicals such as cisplatin over the appropriate range of concentration. Cisplatin inhibited $\alpha$-MG uptake at a low concentration which enzymes were not leaked. Also cadmium chloride and mercuric chloride which are acutely nephrotoxic in vivo, significantly inhibited $\alpha$-MG uptake at a low concentration. These results indicate that the uptake of $\alpha$-methylglucose in LLC-$PK_1$cell line is a useful biomarker for the study of nephrotoxicity.
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