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Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):825-34. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5285. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Inhibitory Mechanisms of Human CYPs by Three Alkaloids Isolated from Traditional Chinese Herbs.

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Institute of Chinese Materia Medica (ICMM), China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS), Beijing, 100700, China.
Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.


The three purified herbal compounds tetrahydropalmatine (Tet), neferine and berberine (Ber) were explored in vitro for basic inhibition mechanisms towards recombinant human CYP1A2, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 metabolic activities. Phenacetin, dextromethorphan and testosterone, respectively, were used as CYP1A2, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 substrates, and their metabolites were determined by validated HPLC methodologies. Positive inhibition controls were used. Mechanism-based (irreversible) inhibition was assessed by time-dependent and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-dependent and reversible inhibition by Lineweaver-Burk plot assessments. Inhibition mechanisms were also assessed by computerized interaction prediction by using the Discovery Studio CDOCKER software (Accelrys, San Diego, CA, USA). Tetrahydropalmatine showed a mechanism-based inhibition of both CYP1A2 and CYP2D6, and Ber of CYP2D6. Neferine and Ber both showed a nonmechanistic inhibition of CYP1A2. All compounds showed a similar and significant mechanism-based inhibition of CYP3A4. Tetrahydropalmatine and Ber demonstrated both reversible and irreversible inhibition of CYP2D6 and CYP3A4. Tetrahydropalmatine and Ber displayed H-bond and several Pi-bond connections with specific amino acid residues of CYP1A2, CYP2D6 and CYP3A4, giving further knowledge to the identified reversible and irreversible herb-drug interactions. Tetrahydropalmatine and Ber should be considered for herb-drug interactions in clinical therapy until relevant clinical studies are available.


CYP inhibition; inhibitory mechanisms; purified herbal compounds

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