BACKGROUND & AIMS Multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (in humans, MRP2; in rodents, Mrp2) mediates biliary excretion of bilirubin glucuronides. Therefore, upregulation of MRP2/Mrp2 expression may improve hyperbilirubinemia. We investigated the effects of 4-phenylbutyrate (4PBA), a drug used to treat ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD), on the cell surface expression and transport function of MRP2/Mrp2 and serum T-Bil concentration. METHODS MRP2-expressing MDCKII (MRP2-MDCKII) cells and rats were studied to explore the change induced by 4PBA treatment in the cell surface expression and transport function of MRP2/Mrp2 and its underlying mechanism. Serum and liver specimens from OTCD patients were analyzed to examine the effect of 4PBA on hepatic MRP2 expression and serum T-Bil concentration in humans. RESULTS In MRP2-MDCKII cells and the rat liver, 4PBA increased the cell surface expression and transport function of MRP2/Mrp2. In patients with OTCD, hepatic MRP2 expression increased and serum T-Bil concentration decreased significantly after 4PBA treatment. In vitro studies designed to explore the mechanism underlying this drug action suggested that cell surface-resident MRP2/Mrp2 is degraded via ubiquitination-mediated targeting to the endosomal/lysosomal degradation pathway and that 4PBA inhibits the degradation of cell surface-resident MRP2/Mrp2 by reducing its susceptibility to ubiquitination. CONCLUSIONS 4PBA activates MRP2/Mrp2 function through increased expression of MRP2/Mrp2 at the hepatocanalicular membrane by modulating its ubiquitination, and thereby decreases serum T-Bil concentration. 4PBA has thus therapeutic potential for improving hyperbilirubinemia.