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Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 1999 Apr-Jun;24(2):141-7.

Effect of protein-calorie malnutrition on cytochromes P450 and glutathione S-transferase.

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Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University, Morgantown, USA.


Protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM) can develop both from inadequate food intake and as a consequence of diseases such as cancer and AIDS. Several studies have shown that PCM can alter drug clearance but little information is available on the effect of PCM on individual cytochrome P450 isoforms and phase II conjugation enzymes. The aim of the present study was to begin a systematic evaluation of the effect of PCM on the activity of individual drug metabolizing enzymes in a rat model of PCM. Control and PCM rats received isocaloric diets which contained either 21% or 5% (deficient) protein. After 3 weeks, the animals were sacrificed and microsomal and cytosolic fractions prepared. Ethoxyresorufin O-deethylation (EROD), chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylation, dextromethorphan N- and O-demethylation and 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) conjugation were used as measures of CYP1A, CYP2E1, CYP3A2, CYP2D1 and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity, respectively. Additionally, NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase activity was measured in the liver microsomes. PCM significantly reduced the maximum velocity (Vmax) of all model reactions studied. However, differential effects were observed with respect to K(m) values of the reactions. The K(m) values for EROD and dextromethorphan N-demethylation were significantly increased in PCM animals, whereas the K(m) values for chlorzoxazone 6-hydroxylation and dextromethorphan O-demethylation were decreased. In contrast, the K(m) value for CDNB conjugation was unchanged. When NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase activity was compared, a 29% reduction in reductase activity was noted in PCM animals as compared to controls. Thus, it appears that PCM decreases the overall activity of certain phase I and phase II metabolism enzymes in rat liver while exhibiting differential effects on K(m). Furthermore, this reduction in activity may be due in part to diminished activity of cytochrome P450 reductase.

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