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Drug Metab Dispos. 2008 Jul;36(7):1227-32. doi: 10.1124/dmd.107.020248. Epub 2008 Mar 27.

The biotransformation of prasugrel, a new thienopyridine prodrug, by the human carboxylesterases 1 and 2.

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Department of Drug Disposition, Eli Lilly and Company, Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA.


2-Acetoxy-5-(alpha-cyclopropylcarbonyl-2-fluorobenzyl)-4,5,6,7-tetrahydrothieno[3,2-c]pyridine (prasugrel) is a novel thienopyridine prodrug with demonstrated inhibition of platelet aggregation and activation. The biotransformation of prasugrel to its active metabolite, 2-[1-[2-cyclopropyl-1-(2-fluorophenyl)-2-oxoethyl]-4-mercapto-3-piperidinylidene]acetic acid (R-138727), requires ester bond hydrolysis, forming the thiolactone 2-[2-oxo-6,7-dihydrothieno[3,2-c]pyridin-5(4H)-yl]-1-cyclopropyl-2-(2-fluorophenyl)ethanone(R-95913), followed by cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism to the active metabolite. The presumed role of the human liver- and intestinal-dominant carboxylesterases, hCE1 and hCE2, respectively, in the conversion of prasugrel to R-95913 was determined using expressed and purified enzymes. The hydrolysis of prasugrel is at least 25 times greater with hCE2 than hCE1. Hydrolysis of prasugrel by hCE1 showed Michaelis-Menten kinetics yielding an apparent K(m) of 9.25 microM and an apparent V(max) of 0.725 nmol product/min/microg protein. Hydrolysis of prasugrel by hCE2 showed a mixture of Hill kinetics at low substrate concentrations and substrate inhibition at high concentrations. At low concentrations, prasugrel hydrolysis by hCE2 yielded an apparent K(s) of 11.1 microM, an apparent V(max) of 19.0 nmol/min/microg, and an apparent Hill coefficient of 1.42, whereas at high concentrations, an apparent IC(50) of 76.5 microM was obtained. In humans, no in vivo evidence of inhibition exists. In vitro transport studies using the intestinal Caco-2 epithelial cell model showed a high in vivo absorption potential for prasugrel and rapid conversion to R-95913. In conclusion, the human carboxylesterases efficiently mediate the conversion of prasugrel to R-95913. These data help explain the rapid appearance of R-138727 in human plasma, where maximum concentrations are observed 0.5 h after a prasugrel p.o. dose, and the rapid onset of action of prasugrel.

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