Cytochromes and cytokines: changes in drug disposition in animals during an acute phase response: a mini-review

Vet Q. 2000 Jan;22(1):17-20. doi: 10.1080/01652176.2000.9695017.


Diseases are a major cause of variation in drug response. Although many different diseases are known that have an effect on the pharmacokinetics or sometimes the pharmacodynamics of a drug, disorders associated with a so-called acute phase response (APR) are the most important in this respect. During APR, for example caused by tissue damage or invasion of a pathogen, a group of symptoms can be observed that often include fever, lassitude, inhibition of gastric function and synthesis of acute phase proteins. All phases that together determine the pharmacokinetic profile of a drug, absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, can be affected during APR. From a clinical point of view however, the effects on absorption and metabolism are the most relevant. For drugs that are given orally, a slower absorption rate is often observed during APR due to a delayed gastric emptying. Even more important from a clinical point of view is the depression of biotransformation capacity in the liver during APR, especially affecting the enzymes of the cytochrome P450 (CYP450) complex. Although much has become known about the mechanism of this effect, a number of questions remain. Cytokines, nitric oxide and possibly the enzyme heme oxygenase are playing a role in a complex process that depends on a mutual interaction between Kupffer cells (macrophages) and hepatocytes in the liver. The clinician should be aware of unexpected changes in drug effects or residue levels due to cumulation of the compound during disease or after vaccination. In these situations, drugs that are excreted unchanged may be better alternatives.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / physiopathology
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / veterinary*
  • Animal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Vaccination / veterinary
  • Veterinary Drugs / pharmacokinetics*
  • Veterinary Drugs / pharmacology


  • Cytokines
  • Veterinary Drugs
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System