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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Nov;80(5):440-456.

Transcriptional profiling of genes induced in the livers of patients treated with carbamazepine.

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Division of Pharmacology/Neurobiology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.



The antiepileptic drug carbamazepine (CBZ) is a potent inducer of human drug metabolism, resulting in serious interactions with many commonly prescribed drugs. The molecular mechanisms underlying this response are not well understood, however, and the spectrum of CBZ-inducible genes in human liver has not been thoroughly investigated.


The availability of liver ribonucleic acid from 2 epileptic patients treated with CBZ and from 7 control subjects enabled us to study the global induction response of drug-metabolizing enzymes, drug transporters, and nuclear receptors in vivo.


Using expression profiling, we identified 64 significantly up-regulated transcripts but only 1 significantly down-regulated transcript (SLC22A5). We confirmed the induction of several genes that previously have been shown to be inducible by drugs in vitro, including multiple cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes in the CYP1A, CYP2A, CYP2B, CYP2C, and CYP3A subfamilies, as well as glutathione S-transferase A1, uridine diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase 1As, the drug transporter ABCC2, and the nuclear receptors CAR (constitutive androstane receptor) and PXR (pregnane X receptor). Moreover, we identified a number of additional genes not previously known to be induced by CBZ, including CYP39A1, sulfotransferase 1A1, glutathione S-transferase Z1, and the drug transporters SLCO1A2, ABCG2, and ABCB7, as well as the glucocorticoid and aldosterone receptors. In transactivation studies in CV-1 cells, we demonstrated that both CBZ and its major metabolite, CBZ-10,11-epoxide, activate the nuclear receptor PXR in a concentration-dependent fashion and at therapeutic concentrations with 50% inhibitory concentration values of approximately 50 micromol/L.


CBZ is a potent inducer of a broad spectrum of drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transporters in the human liver, and these effects are mediated at least in part by activation of PXR.

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