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Xenobiotica. 2002 Jul;32(7):587-94.

Sulfation of R(-)-apomorphine in the human liver and duodenum, and its inhibition by mefenamic acid, salicylic acid and quercetin.

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Department of Neurosciences, Section of Pharmacology, Via Roma 55, I-56126 Pisa, Italy.


1. The aims were to study the sulfation of R-(-)-apomorphine (hereafter apomorphine) in the human liver and duodenum, and to study the rate of inhibition of apomorphine sulphation by mefenamic acid, salicylic acid and quercetin also in the human liver and duodenum. 2. A rapid and sensitive method was developed to measure the sulfation rate of apomorphine in the human liver and duodenum. The method was based on the use of 0.4 micro M 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate-[(35)S] (PAPS) and 50 micro M apomorphine. The unreacted PAPS was precipitated with barium hydroxide, barium acetate and zinc sulfate. 3. The rate of apomorphine sulfation (mean +/- SD and median) was 261 +/- 82 and 242 pmol min(-1) mg(-1), respectively (liver), and 433 +/- 157 and 443 pmol min(-1) mg(-1), respectively (duodenum). The apomorphine sulfation rate was higher in the duodenum than in the liver (p = 0.0005). 4. Apomorphine sulfation was correlated with SULT1A1 activity in the liver (r(2) = 0.363, p = 0.005) and duodenum (r(2) = 0.494, p = 0.0005), but it did not correlate with SULT1A3 activity both in the liver and duodenum. 5. The K(m) estimate of apomorphine sulfation rate was 20 +/- 3.6 (liver) and 6.5 +/- 0.2 microM (duodenum, p = 0.024), and the V(max) estimate was 248 +/- 99 (liver) and 636 +/- 104 pmol min(-1) mg(-1) (duodenum, p = 0.018). 6. Mefenamic acid, salicylic acid and quercetin were potent inhibitors of apomorphine sulfation rate in the liver, and the IC(50) estimates were 16 +/- 0.2 nM, 54 +/- 8.6 microM and 18 +/- 2.8 nM, respectively. These compounds were poor inhibitors of apomorphine sulfation in the duodenum. 7. Apomorphine is sulfated by the human liver and duodenum, the highest activity being associated with the duodenum. The K(m) of apomorphine sulfotransferase is in the order of micro M both in the liver and duodenum. The non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug mefenamic acid and the natural flavonoid quercetin inhibit the hepatic sulfation of apomorphine with an IC(50) in the order of nM.

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