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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1991 Jun;31(6):661-4.

Interindividual variability in the glucuronidation and sulphation of ethinyloestradiol in human liver.

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Department of Experimental Biomedicine, Medical School, University of Pisa, Italy.


1. Glucuronidation and sulphation of ethinyloestradiol (EE2) was studied in human liver. Microsomal glucuronyltransferase activity was measured in 110 livers whose donors were 71 women and 39 men. Enzyme activity ranged between 12.6 and 242 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein, i.e. over a 19-fold range and the mean (+/- s.d.) glucuronyltransferase activity was 96.8 +/- 47.9 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein. 2. Cytosolic sulphotransferase activity was measured in 138 livers whose donors were 90 women and 48 men. Enzyme activity ranged between 14.4 and 98.2 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein, i.e. over a 7-fold range, and the mean (+/- s.d.) sulphotransferase activity was 43.7 +/- 18.6 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein. 3. Human liver glucuronyltransferase and sulphotransferase activities showed a unimodal distribution pattern. Enzyme activities were neither sex-related nor age-dependent. Sulphotransferase activity did not correlate with glucuronyltransferase activity (n = 80) suggesting that the two enzymes are independently regulated. The ratio of specific glucuronyltransferase to sulphotransferase activity ranged between 0.15 and 8.0 (mean +/- s.d., 2.44 +/- 1.51) and was unimodally distributed.

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