There is increasing evidence that epidermal carboxylesterase may be involved in the stereoselective hydrolysis of prodrugs in percutaneous absorption. The present study was designed to evaluate the stereoselective characteristics and mechanisms of ketoprofen ethyl ester hydrolysis by epidermal carboxylesterase expressed in HaCaT keratinocytes. Ketoprofen ethyl ester was mainly hydrolyzed to R-ketoprofen by carboxylesterase of human HaCaT keratinocytes. Human carboxylesterase-1 (hCE-1) and human carboxylesterase-2 (hCE-2) were intensively detected in L02 hepatocytes, hCE-2 was also intensively detected in HaCaT keratinocytes, but hCE-1 was not detected in HaCaT keratinocytes. hCE-2 is thus an abundant carboxylesterase in HaCaT keratinocytes which may be responsible for stereoselective hydrolysis of ketoprofen ethyl ester.
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