Cytochrome b5 is a major determinant of human cytochrome P450 CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 activity in vivo

Colin J. Henderson, Lesley A. McLaughlin, Nico Scheer, Lesley A. Stanley, C. Roland Wolf (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    The cytochrome P450-dependent mono-oxygenase system is responsible for the metabolism and disposition of chemopreventive agents, chemical toxins and carcinogens, and >80% of therapeutic drugs. Cytochrome P450 (P450) activity is regulated transcriptionally and by the rate of electron transfer from P450 reductase. In vitro studies have demonstrated that cytochrome b5 (Cyb5) also modulates P450 function. We recently showed that hepatic deletion of Cyb5 in the mouse (HBN) markedly alters in vivo drug pharmacokinetics; a key outstanding question is whether Cyb5 modulates the activity of the major human P450s in drug disposition in vivo. To address this, we crossed mice humanized for CYP2D6 or CYP3A4 with mice carrying a hepatic Cyb5 deletion. In vitro triazolam 4-hydroxylation (probe reaction for CYP3A4) was reduced by >50% in hepatic microsomes from CYP3A4-HBN mice compared with controls. Similar reductions in debrisoquine 4-hydroxylation and metoprolol α-hydroxylation were observed using CYP2D6-HBN microsomes, indicating a significant role for Cyb5 in the activity of both enzymes. This effect was confirmed by the concentration-dependent restoration of CYP3A4-mediated triazolam turnover and CYP2D6-mediated bufuralol and debrisoquine turnover on addition of Escherichia coli membranes containing recombinant Cyb5. In vivo, the peak plasma concentration and area under the concentration time curve from 0 to 8 hours (AUC0-8 h) of triazolam were increased 4- and 5.7-fold, respectively, in CYP3A4-HBN mice. Similarly, the pharmacokinetics of bufuralol and debrisoquine were significantly altered in CYP2D6-HBN mice, the AUC0-8 h being increased ∼1.5-fold and clearance decreased by 40-60%. These data demonstrate that Cyb5 can be a major determinant of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 activity in vivo, with a potential impact on the metabolism, efficacy, and side effects of numerous therapeutic drugs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)733-739
    Number of pages7
    JournalMolecular Pharmacology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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