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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005 Dec;315(3):1256-64. Epub 2005 Aug 31.

Differential UGT1A1 induction by chrysin in primary human hepatocytes and HepG2 Cells.

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Division of Drug Delivery and Disposition, School of Pharmacy, CB 7360, Kerr Hall, Room 2319, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7360, USA.


Chrysin, a dietary flavonoid, has been shown to markedly induce UGT1A1 expression and activity in HepG2 and Caco-2 cell lines; thus, it has been suggested to have clinical utility in the treatment of UGT1A1-mediated deficiencies, such as unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia or the prevention of 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38) toxicity. However, little is known about its induction potential in a more physiologically relevant model system, such as primary hepatocyte culture. In this study, induction of UGT1A1 expression (mRNA, protein, and activity) was investigated in primary human hepatocyte cultures after treatment with chrysin and other prototypical inducers. Endogenous nuclear receptor-mediated UGT1A1 induction was studied using transient transfection reporter assays in primary human hepatocytes and HepG2 cells. Results indicated that induction of UGT1A1 expression was minimal in human hepatocytes treated with chrysin compared with that in HepG2 cells (1.2-versus 11-fold, respectively). Subsequent experiments to determine whether the differential response was due to its metabolic stability revealed strikingly different elimination rate constants between the two cell systems (half-life of 13 min in human hepatocytes versus 122 min in HepG2 cell suspensions). Further study demonstrated that UGT1A1 mRNA expression could be induced in human hepatocyte cultures by either increasing the chrysin dosing frequency or by modulating chrysin metabolism, suggesting that the differential induction observed in hepatocytes and HepG2 cells was due to differences in the metabolic clearance of chrysin. In conclusion, this study suggests that the metabolic stability of chrysin likely would limit its ability to induce UGT1A1 in vivo.

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