Cytochrome P450 isoforms involved in metabolism of the enantiomers of verapamil and norverapamil

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1999 May;47(5):545-52. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.1999.00923.x.


Aims: The present study was conducted to evaluate metabolism of the enantiomers of verapamil and norverapamil using a broad range of cytochrome P450 isoforms and measure the kinetic parameters of these processes.

Methods: Cytochrome P450 cDNA-expressed cells and microsomes from a P450-expressed lymphoblastoid cell line were incubated with 40 microm concentrations of R- or S-verapamil and R- or S-norverapamil and metabolite formation measured by h.p.l.c. as an initial screening. Those isoforms exhibiting substantial activity were then studied over a range of substrate concentrations (2.5-450 microm ) to estimate the kinetic parameters for metabolite formation.

Results: P450s 3A4, 3A5, 2C8 and to a minor extent 2E1 were involved in the metabolism of the enantiomers of verapamil. Estimated Km values for the production of D-617 and norverapamil by P450 s 3A4 and 3A5 were similar (range=60-127 microm ) regardless of the enantiomer of verapamil studied while the Vmax estimates were also similar (range=4-8 pmol min-1 pmol-1 P450). Only nominal production of D-620 by these isoforms was noted. Interestingly, P450 2C8 readily metabolized both S- and R-verapamil to D-617, norverapamil and PR-22 with only slightly higher Km values than noted for P450s 3A4 and 3A5. However, the Vmax estimates for P450 2C8 metabolism of S- and R-verapamil were in general greater (range=8-15 pmol min-1 pmol-1 P450) than those noted for P450 s 3A4 and 3A5 with preference noted for metabolism of the S-enantiomer. Similarly, P450 s 3A4, 3A5 and 2C8 also mediated the metabolism of the enantiomers of norverapamil with minor contributions by P450 s 2D6 and 2E1. P450s 3A4 and 3A5 readily formed the D-620 metabolite with generally a lower Km and higher Vmax for S-norverapamil than for the R-enantiomer. In contrast, P450 2C8 produced both the D-620 and PR-22 metabolites from the enantiomers of norverapamil, again with stereoselective preference seen for the S-enantiomer.

Conclusions: These results confirm that P450s 3A4, 3A5 and 2C8 play a major role in verapamil metabolism and demonstrate that norverapamil can also be further metabolized by the P450s.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Nitriles*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Verapamil / analogs & derivatives*
  • Verapamil / chemistry
  • Verapamil / metabolism*


  • Isoenzymes
  • Nitriles
  • alpha-(3-aminopropyl)-3,4-dimethoxy-alpha-(1-methylethyl)benzeneacetonitrile
  • 2-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-5-amino-2-isopropylvaleronitrile
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • norverapamil
  • Verapamil
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A