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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:242810. doi: 10.1155/2012/242810. Epub 2012 May 7.

Sesamin: A Naturally Occurring Lignan Inhibits CYP3A4 by Antagonizing the Pregnane X Receptor Activation.

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Department of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, China Medical University, Taichung 40402, Taiwan.


Inconsistent expression and regulation of drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) are common causes of adverse drug effects in some drugs with a narrow therapeutic index (TI). An important cytochrome, cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4), is predominantly regulated by a nuclear receptor, pregnane X receptor (PXR). Sesamin, a major lignan constituent in sesame seeds and oil, exhibits a variety of biological functions; however, the effect of sesamin on the modulation of CYP3A4 is not well understood. In this study, the effects of sesamin on the PXR-CYP3A4 pathway were characterized, as well as the underlying mechanisms of those effects. Sesamin potently attenuated CYP3A4 induction in a dose-dependent manner by blocking the activation of PXR. The PXR inducer-mediated inhibition of CYP3A4 was further evidenced by the ability of sesamin to attenuate the effects of several PXR ligands in the CYP3A4 reporter assay. Further mechanistic studies showed that sesamin inhibited PXR by interrupting the interacting with coregulators. These results may lead to the development of new therapeutic and dietary approaches to reduce the frequency of inducer-drug interaction. Sesamin was established as a novel inhibitor of PXR and may be useful for modulating DMEs expression and drug efficacies. Modification of CYP3A4 expression and activity by consumption of sesamin may have important implications for drug safety.

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