The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics

Multiple compound-related adverse properties contribute to liver injury caused by endothelin receptor antagonists.

PMID 25467130


Drug-induced liver injury has been observed in patients treated with the endothelin receptor antagonists sitaxentan and bosentan, but not following treatment with ambrisentan. The aim of our studies was to assess the possible role of multiple contributory mechanisms in this clinically relevant toxicity. Inhibition of the bile salt export pump (BSEP) and multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 was quantified using membrane vesicle assays. Inhibition of mitochondrial respiration in human liver-derived HuH-7 cells was determined using a Seahorse XF(e96) analyzer. Cytochrome P450 (P450)-independent and P450-mediated cell toxicity was assessed using transfected SV40-T-antigen-immortalized human liver epithelial (THLE) cell lines. Exposure-adjusted assay ratios were calculated by dividing the maximum human drug plasma concentrations by the IC50 or EC50 values obtained in vitro. Covalent binding (CVB) of radiolabeled drugs to human hepatocytes was quantified, and CVB body burdens were calculated by adjusting CVB values for fractional drug turnover in vitro and daily therapeutic dose. Sitaxentan exhibited positive exposure-adjusted signals in all five in vitro assays and a high CVB body burden. Bosentan exhibited a positive exposure-adjusted signal in one assay (BSEP inhibition) and a moderate CVB body burden. Ambrisentan exhibited no positive exposure-adjusted assay signals and a low CVB body burden. These data indicate that multiple mechanisms contribute to the rare, but potentially severe liver injury caused by sitaxentan in humans; provide a plausible rationale for the markedly lower propensity of bosentan to cause liver injury; and highlight the relative safety of ambrisentan.

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Benzenesulfonamide, ≥98%
Rotenone, PESTANAL®, analytical standard