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Drug Metab Dispos. 2012 Sep;40(9):1797-802. doi: 10.1124/dmd.112.045161. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Evaluation of inhibition selectivity for human cytochrome P450 2A enzymes.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA.


Cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes are mixed-function oxidases that catalyze the metabolism of xenobiotics and endogenous biochemicals. Selective inhibitors are needed to accurately distinguish the contributions of individual P450 enzymes in the metabolism of drugs and the activation of procarcinogens in human tissues, but very frequently these enzymes have substantial overlapping selectivity. We evaluated a chemically diverse set of nine previously identified CYP2A6 inhibitors to determine which are able to discriminate between human CYP2A enzymes CYP2A6 and the 94%-identical CYP2A13 enzyme. Inhibitor binding to recombinant purified enzyme was evaluated, and affinities were determined. K(i) values were determined for inhibition of p-nitrophenol 2-hydroxylation, a reaction accomplished by CYP2A13 and CYP2A6 with more similar catalytic efficiencies (k(cat)/K(m) 0.19 and 0.12 μM⁻¹ · min⁻¹, respectively) than hydroxylation of the classic substrate coumarin (0.11 and 0.53 μM⁻¹ · min⁻¹, respectively). Of the nine compounds assayed, only tranylcypromine and (R)-(+)-menthofuran had a greater than 10-fold preference for CYP2A6 inhibition versus CYP2A13 inhibition. Most compounds evaluated [tryptamine, 4-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde, phenethyl isothiocyanate, β-nicotyrine, (S)-nicotine, and pilocarpine] demonstrated only moderate or no preference for inhibition of one CYP2A enzyme over the other. However, 8-methoxypsoralen has a 6-fold lower K(i) for CYP2A13 than for CYP2A6. This information is useful to inform reinterpretation of previous data with these inhibitors and to guide future studies seeking to determine which human CYP2A enzyme is responsible for the in vivo metabolism of compounds in human tissues expressing both enzymes.

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