Oxidation of celecoxib by polymorphic cytochrome P450 2C9 and alcohol dehydrogenase

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Oct;54(4):423-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2125.2002.01660.x.


Aims: Celecoxib is a novel selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor, which is subject to extensive hepatic metabolism. The aims of the present in vitro investigation were 1) to compare the rate of celecoxib hydroxylation by different genetic variants of cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9), and 2) to identify the enzyme(s) involved in the formation of the major metabolite carboxycelecoxib.

Methods: Hydroxycelecoxib formation was studied in human liver microsomes from 35 genotyped livers, as well as in yeast microsomes with recombinant expression of different P450 variants. Carboxycelecoxib formation was studied in liver microsomes incubated in the absence or presence of liver cytosol. The metabolites were identified and quantified by h.p.l.c. In addition, hydroxycelecoxib oxidation by different variants of recombinant human alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH1-3) was analysed by spectrophotometric monitoring of NADH generation from NAD+.

Results: The intrinsic clearance of celecoxib hydroxylation was significantly lower for yeast-expressed CYP2C9.3 (0.14 ml min-1 nmol-1 enzyme) compared with CYP2C9.1 (0.44 ml min-1 nmol-1 enzyme). In human liver microsomes, a significant 2-fold decrease in the rate of hydroxycelecoxib formation was evident in CYP2C9*1/*3 samples compared with CYP2C9*1/*1 samples. There was also a marked reduction (up to 5.3 times) of hydroxycelecoxib formation in a liver sample genotyped as CYP2C9*3/*3. However, the CYP2C9*2 samples did not differ significantly from CYP2C9*1 in any of the systems studied. Inhibition experiments with sulphaphenazole (SPZ) or triacetyloleandomycin indicated that celecoxib hydroxylation in human liver microsomes was mainly dependent on CYP2C9 and not CYP3A4. The further oxidation of hydroxycelecoxib to carboxycelecoxib was completely dependent on liver cytosol and NAD+. Additional experiments showed that ADH1 and ADH2 catalysed this reaction in vitro with apparent K m values of 42 micro m and 10 micro m, respectively, whereas ADH3 showed no activity.

Conclusions: The results confirm that CYP2C9 is the major enzyme for celecoxib hydroxylation in vitro and further indicate that the CYP2C9*3 allelic variant is associated with markedly slower metabolism. Furthermore, it was shown for the first time that carboxycelecoxib formation is dependent on cytosolic alcohol dehydrogenase, presumably ADH1 and/or ADH2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism*
  • Celecoxib
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides / metabolism*


  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • CYP2C9 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Celecoxib