Background: Urinary tract obstruction is a common cause of renal failure. In this study, we evaluated the time course of P-aminohippurate (PAH) renal excretion and the cortical expression of organic anion transporters (Oat1 and Oat3) at 1 (BUO-1), 2 (BUO-2) and 7 (BUO-7) days after release of 24-hour bilateral ureteral obstruction (BUO) in the rat. Methods: Conventional clearance technique, differential centrifugation, semiquantitative immunoblotting and immunohistochemical techniques have been employed. Results: These studies showed that Oat1 and Oat3 in basolateral membranes were downregulated both at BUO-1 and BUO-2. Concomitantly, the rats developed a reduction in PAH renal elimination. In contrast, total recovery in PAH renal excretion and in the expression of Oat1 and Oat3 were observed at BUO-7, as compared with the sham group. A direct correlation was observed between the secretory clearance of PAH and Oat1 (r<sup>2</sup> = 0.88) and Oat3 (r<sup>2</sup> = 0.83) expression in basolateral membranes. Conclusion: These results indicate that the differential expression of organic anion transporters is one of the main molecular mechanisms contributing to the organic anion excretion modifications observed during the time course of obstructive nephropathy. This study provides evidence regarding the importance of adjusting the dose regimens of negatively charged drugs during the different time phases of this pathology.