Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals

Evaluation of time-dependent cytochrome P450 inhibition using cultured human hepatocytes.

PMID 16679385


Primary human hepatocytes in culture are commonly used to evaluate cytochrome P450 (P450) induction via an enzyme activity endpoint. However, other processes can confound data interpretation. To this end, the impact of time-dependent P450 inhibition in this system was evaluated. Using a substrate-cassette approach, P450 activities were determined after incubation with the prototypic inhibitors tienilic acid (CYP2C9), erythromycin, troleandomycin, and fluoxetine (CYP3A4). Kinetic analysis of enzyme inactivation in hepatocytes was used to describe the effect of these time-dependent inhibitors and derive the inhibition parameters kinact and KI) which generally were in good agreement with the values derived using recombinant P450s and human liver microsomes (HLMs). Tienilic acid selectively inhibited CYP2C9-dependent diclofenac 4'-hydroxylation activity, and erythromycin, troleandomycin, and fluoxetine inhibited CYP3A4-dependent midazolam 1'-hydroxylation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Fluoxetine also inhibited CYP2C19-dependent S-mephenytoin 4'-hydroxylation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner in hepatocytes, HLMs, and recombinant CYP2C19 (KI 0.4 microM and kinact 0.5 min(-1)). As expected, the effect of fluoxetine on CYP2D6 in hepatocytes was consistent with potent yet reversible inhibition. A very weak time-dependent CYP2C9 inhibitor (AZ1, a proprietary AstraZeneca compound; KI 30 microM and kinact 0.02 min(-1)) effectively abolished CYP2C9 activity over 24 h at low (micromolar) concentrations in primary cultured human hepatocytes. This work demonstrates that caution is warranted in the interpretation of enzyme induction studies with metabolically stable, weak time-dependent inhibitors, which may have dramatic inhibitory effects on P450 activity in this system. Therefore, in addition to enzyme activity, mRNA and/or protein levels should be measured to fully evaluate the P450 induction potential of a drug candidate.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

Tienilic Acid, ≥98% (HPLC)