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Metabolism of Sanguinarine: The Facts and The Myths

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Sanguinarine, a quaternary benzo[c]phenanthridine alkaloid, exhibits antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities and for this reason it is used in dental hygiene products and feed additives. Its metabolism and disposition is the subject of constant scientific discourse. In this paper we summarize current knowledge on sanguinarine metabolism. We show in particular that: (i) Sanguinarine is not transformed to 3,4-benzacridine and that the literature reporting this compound as a metabolite of sanguinarine is based on artifacts and misinterpretations that in course of time have created a dogma; (ii) Sanguinarine is converted to dihydrosanguinarine in vivo, the conversion being tentatively a detoxication pathway; (iii) Aryl hydrocarbon receptor metabolic signaling pathways modulate sanguinarine biological activity.

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Keywords: Aryl hydrocarbon receptor; Biotransformation; Cytochrome P450; Metabolites; Sanguinarine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palack University Olomouc, Hn votinska 3, 77515 Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Publication date: February 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Current Drug Metabolism aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in drug metabolism and disposition. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of timely reviews in drug metabolism. Current Drug Metabolism is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments. The journal covers the following areas:

    In vitro systems including CYP-450; enzyme induction and inhibition; drug-drug interactions and enzyme kinetics; pharmacokinetics, toxicokinetics, species scaling and extrapolations; P-glycoprotein and transport carriers; target organ toxicity and interindividual variability; drug metabolism and disposition studies; extrahepatic metabolism; phase I and phase II metabolism; recent developments for the identification of drug metabolites and adducts.
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