Toxicological significance of mechanism-based inactivation of cytochrome p450 enzymes by drugs

Yasuhiro Masubuchi, Toshiharu Horie
Critical Reviews in Toxicology 2007, 37 (5): 389-412
Cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes oxidize xenobiotics into chemically reactive metabolites or intermediates as well as into stable metabolites. If the reactivity of the product is very high, it binds to a catalytic site or sites of the enzyme itself and inactivates it. This phenomenon is referred to as mechanism-based inactivation. Many clinically important drugs are mechanism-based inactivators that include macrolide antibiotics, calcium channel blockers, and selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, but are not always structurally and pharmacologically related. The inactivation of P450s during drug therapy results in serious drug interactions, since irreversibility of the binding allows enzyme inhibition to be prolonged after elimination of the causal drug. The inhibition of the metabolism of drugs with narrow therapeutic indexes, such as terfenadine and astemizole, leads to toxicities. On the other hand, the fate of P450s after the inactivation and the toxicological consequences remains to be elucidated, while it has been suggested that P450s modified and degraded are involved in some forms of tissue toxicity. Porphyrinogenic drugs, such as griseofulvin, cause mechanism-based heme inactivation, leading to formation of ferrochelatase-inhibitory N-alkylated protoporphyrins and resulting in porphyria. Involvement of P450-derived free heme in halothane-induced hepatotoxicity and catalytic iron in cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity has also been suggested. Autoantibodies against P450s have been found in hepatitis following administration of tienilic acid and dihydralazine. Tienilic acid is activated by and covalently bound to CYP2C9, and the neoantigens thus formed activate immune systems, resulting in the formation of an autoantibodydirected against CYP2C9, named anti-liver/kidney microsomal autoantibody type 2, whereas the pathological role of the autoantibodies in drug-induced hepatitis remains largely unknown.

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