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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2007 Apr;321(1):400-8. Epub 2007 Jan 11.

A metabolic screening study of trichostatin A (TSA) and TSA-like histone deacetylase inhibitors in rat and human primary hepatocyte cultures.

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Department of Toxicology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laarbeeklaan 103, B-1090 Brussels, Belgium.


Hydroxamic acid (HA)-based histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, with trichostatin A (TSA) as the reference compound, are potential antitumoral drugs and show promise in the creation of long-term primary cell cultures. However, their metabolic properties have barely been investigated. TSA is rapidly inactivated in rodents both in vitro and in vivo. We previously found that 5-(4-dimethylaminobenzoyl)aminovaleric acid hydroxyamide or 4-Me2N-BAVAH (compound 1) is metabolically more stable upon incubation with rat hepatocyte suspensions. In this study, we show that human hepatocytes also metabolize TSA more rapidly than compound 1 and that similar pathways are involved. Furthermore, structural analogs of compound 1 (compounds 2-9) are reported to have the same favorable metabolic properties. Removal of the dimethylamino substituent of compound 1 creates a very stable but 50% less potent inhibitor. Chain lengthening (4 to 5 carbon spacer) slightly improves both potency and metabolic stability, favoring HA reduction to hydrolysis. On the other hand, Calpha-unsaturation and spacer methylation not only reduce HDAC inhibition but also increase the rate of metabolic inactivation approximately 2-fold, mainly through HA reduction. However, in rat hepatocyte monolayer cultures, compound 1 is shown to be extensively metabolized by phase II conjugation. In conclusion, this study suggests that simple structural modifications of amide-linked TSA analogs can improve their phase I metabolic stability in both rat and human hepatocyte suspensions. Phase II glucuronidation, however, can compensate for their lower phase I metabolism in rat hepatocyte monolayers and could play a yet unidentified role in the determination of their in vivo clearance.

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