Send to

Choose Destination
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Oct;163:68-76. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.04.004. Epub 2016 Apr 25.

Biotransformation of the mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists spironolactone and canrenone by human CYP11B1 and CYP11B2: Characterization of the products and their influence on mineralocorticoid receptor transactivation.

Author information

Institute of Biochemistry, Saarland University, Campus B2.2, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany.
Pharmaceutical Biology, Saarland University, Campus C2.2, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany.
Institute of Biochemistry, Saarland University, Campus B2.2, 66123 Saarbruecken, Germany. Electronic address:


Spironolactone and its major metabolite canrenone are potent mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists and are, therefore, applied as drugs for the treatment of primary aldosteronism and essential hypertension. We report that both compounds can be converted by the purified adrenocortical cytochromes P450 CYP11B1 and CYP11B2, while no conversion of the selective mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist eplerenone was observed. As their natural function, CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 carry out the final steps in the biosynthesis of gluco- and mineralocorticoids. Dissociation constants for the new exogenous substrates were determined by a spectroscopic binding assay and demonstrated to be comparable to those of the natural substrates, 11-deoxycortisol and 11-deoxycorticosterone. Metabolites were produced at preparative scale with a CYP11B2-dependent Escherichia coli whole-cell system and purified by HPLC. Using NMR spectroscopy, the metabolites of spironolactone were identified as 11β-OH-spironolactone, 18-OH-spironolactone and 19-OH-spironolactone. Canrenone was converted to 11β-OH-canrenone, 18-OH-canrenone as well as to the CYP11B2-specific product 11β,18-diOH-canrenone. Therefore, a contribution of CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 to the biotransformation of drugs should be taken into account and the metabolites should be tested for their potential toxic and pharmacological effects. A mineralocorticoid receptor transactivation assay in antagonist mode revealed 11β-OH-spironolactone as pharmaceutically active metabolite, whereas all other hydroxylation products negate the antagonist properties of spironolactone and canrenone. Thus, human CYP11B1 and CYP11B2 turned out to metabolize steroid-based drugs additionally to the liver-dependent biotransformation of drugs. Compared with the action of the parental drug, changed properties of the metabolites at the target site have been observed.


Aldosterone; Human CYP11B1/CYP11B2; Hypertension; Mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists; Xenobiotic metabolism

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center