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Curr Drug Metab. 2007 Dec;8(8):822-9.

The conduct of drug metabolism studies considered good practice (II): in vitro experiments.

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Toxicology & Pharmacology Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


In vitro drug metabolism studies, which are inexpensive and readily carried out, serve as an adequate screening mechanism to characterize drug metabolites, elucidate their pathways, and make suggestions for further in vivo testing. This publication is a sequel to part I in a series and aims at providing a general framework to guide designs and protocols of the in vitro drug metabolism studies considered good practice in an efficient manner such that it would help researchers avoid common pitfalls and misleading results. The in vitro models include hepatic and non-hepatic microsomes, cDNA-expressed recombinant human CYPs expressed in insect cells or human B lymphoblastoid, chemical P450 inhibitors, S9 fraction, hepatocytes and liver slices. Important conditions for conducting the in vitro drug metabolism studies using these models are stated, including relevant concentrations of enzymes, co-factors, inhibitors and test drugs; time of incubation and sampling in order to establish kinetics of reactions; appropriate control settings, buffer selection and method validation. Separate in vitro data should be logically integrated to explain results from animal and human studies and to provide insights into the nature and consequences of in vivo drug metabolism. This article offers technical information and data and addresses scientific rationales and practical skills related to in vitro evaluation of drug metabolism to meet regulatory requirements for drug development.

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