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Stereo-Selective Metabolism of Methadone by Human Liver Microsomes and cDNA-Expressed Cytochrome P450s: A Reconciliation

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In vitro metabolism of methadone was investigated in cytochrome P450 (CYP) supersomes and phenotyped human liver microsomes (HLMs) to reconcile past findings on CYP involvement in stereo-selective metabolism of methadone. Racaemic methadone was used for incubations; (R)- and (S)-methadone turnover and (R)- and (S)-EDDP formation were determined using chiral liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. CYP supersome activity for methadone use and EDDP formation ranked CYP2B6 > 3A4 > 2C19 > 2D6 > 2C18, 3A7 > 2C8, 2C9, 3A5. After abundance scaling, CYP3A4, 2B6 and 2C19 accounted for 63–74, 12–32 and 1. 4–14% of respective activity. CYP2B6, 2D6 and 2C18 demonstrated a preference for (S)-EDDP formation; CYP2C19, 3A7 and 2C8 for (R)-EDDP; 3A4 none. Correlation analysis with 15 HLMs supported the involvement of CYP2B6 and 3A. The significant correlation of S/R ratio with CYP2B6 activity confirmed its stereo-selectivity. CYP2C19 and 2D6 inhibitors and monoclonal antibody (mAb) did not inhibit EDDP formation in HLM. Chemical and mAb inhibition of CYP3A in high 3A activity HLM reduced EDDP formation by 60–85%; inhibition of CYP2B6 in 2B6 high-activity HLM reduced (S)-EDDP formation by 80% and (R)-EDDP formation by 55%. Inhibition changed methadone metabolism in a stereo-selective manner. When CYP3A was inhibited, 2B6 mediated (S)-EDDP formation predominated; S/R stereo-selectivity increased. When 2B6 was inhibited (S)-EDDP formation fell and stereo-selectivity decreased. The results confirmed the primary roles of CYPs 3A4 and 2B6 in methadone metabolism; CYP2C8 and 2C9 did not appear involved; 2C19 and 2D6 have minimal roles. CYP2B6 is the primary determinant of stereo-selective metabolism; stereo-selective inhibition might play a role in varied plasma concentrations of the two enantiomers.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Formerly Pharmacology & Toxicology

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