1. The kinetics of transport of pyruvate (Km 0.20 mM), L-lactate (Km 2.2 mM) and D-lactate (Ki 10.2 mM) into rat cardiac myocytes were studied and compared with those for guinea-pig heart cells [Poole, Halestrap, Price and Levi (1989) Biochem. J. 264, 409-418] whose equivalent values were 0.07, 2.3 and 6.6 mM respectively. Maximal rates of transport were about 5-fold higher in the rat heart cells. 2. 4,4′-Dibenzamidostilbene-2,2′-disulphonate (DBDS), a powerful inhibitor of monocarboxylate transport into erythrocytes [Poole & Halestrap (1991) Biochem. J. 275, 307-312], was found to be a potent but apparently partial inhibitor of lactate and pyruvate transport, with an apparent Ki value at 0.5 mM L-lactate of about 16 microM in both species. Maximal inhibition was 50% and 80% in rat and guinea-pig cells respectively. 3. The maximal extent of inhibition and apparent Ki values were dependent on both the substrate transported and its concentration. Maximum inhibition was less and the Ki was greater at higher substrate concentrations. 4. A variety of other stilbene disulphonates were studied which showed different Ki values and maximal extents of inhibition. 5. Phloretin was a significantly less potent inhibitor of transport into both rat (Ki 25 microM) and guinea-pig (Ki 16 microM) heart cells than into rat erythrocytes (Ki 1.4 microM). In the rat but not the guinea-pig heart cells, inhibition appeared partial (maximal inhibition 84%). 6. We demonstrate that our results can be explained by the presence of two monocarboxylate carriers in heart cells, both with Km values for L-lactate of about 2 mM and inhibited by alpha-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamate, but with different affinities for other substrates and inhibitors. One carrier is sensitive to inhibition by stilbene disulphonates and has lower Km values for pyruvate (0.05-0.10 mM) and D-lactate (5 mM), whereas the other has higher Km values for pyruvate (0.30 mM) and D-lactate (25 mM), and is relatively insensitive to stilbene disulphonates. Rat heart cells possess more of the latter carrier and guinea-pig heart cells more of the former. 7. The significance of these results for the study of lactate transport in the perfused heart is discussed.

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