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Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. 2014 Jun;39(2):139-46.

An LC-MS based study of the metabolic profile of primaquine, an 8-aminoquinoline antiparasitic drug, with an in vitro primary human hepatocyte culture model.


The 8-aminoquinoline drug primaquine (PQ) is currently the only drug in use against the persistent malaria caused by the hypnozoite-forming strains P. vivax and P. ovale. However, despite decades of research, its complete metabolic profile is still poorly understood. In the present study, the metabolism of PQ was evaluated by incubating the drug with pooled human hepatocytes cultured in vitro as well as with recombinant cytochrome P450 (CYP) iso- enzymes, monoamine oxidases (MAO), and flavin-containing monooxygenases (FMO). Targeted LC-MS/MS analysis of hepatocyte incubations using chemical inhibitors indicated that PQ was predominantly metabolized by CYPs 3A4, 1A2 and 2D6, MAO-A, -B and FMO-3. Confirmation of these results was sought by incubation of PQ with the corresponding recombinant enzymes. Small amounts of carboxyprimaquine (CPQ), the major observed PQ metabolite in vivo, were detected in recombinant MAO-A incubations along with another peak at m/z 261, and no significant formation of CPQ with any other recombinant enzymes was observed. Incubations with all recombinant enzymes identified as potentially active towards PQ from the hepatocyte-based assay resulted in significant parent loss over the course of 1 h. These results suggest that several enzymes, including CYPs in combination with FMOs and MAOs, play a role in the overall metabolism of PQ and indicate a major role for MAO-A. Future studies to elucidate the potential role in cytotoxicity and/or efficacy of the PQ metabolite observed at m/z 261, as observed in MAO-A isoenzyme studies, are needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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