Valproic acid glucuronidation kinetics were carried our with three human UGT isoforms: UGT1A6, UGT1A9, and UGT2B7 as well as human liver and kidney microsomes. The glucuronidation of valproic acid was typified by high K(m) values with microsomes and expressed UGTs (2.3-5.2mM). The ability of valproic acid to interact with the glucuronidation of drugs, steroids and xenobiotics in vitro was investigated using the three UGT isoforms known to glucuronidate valproic acid. In addition to this the effect of valproic acid was investigated using two other UGT isoforms: UGT1A1 and UGT2B15 which do not glucuronidate valproic acid. Valproic acid inhibited UGT1A9 catalyzed propofol glucuronidation in an uncompetitive manner and UGT2B7 catalyzed AZT glucuronidation competitively (K(i)=1.6+/-0.06mM). Valproate significantly inhibited UGT2B15 catalyzed steroid and xenobiotic glucuronidation although valproate was not a substrate for this UGT isoform. No significant inhibition of UGT1A1 or UGT1A6 by valproic acid was observed. These data indicate that valproic acid inhibition of glucuronidation reactions is not always due to simple competitive inhibition of substrates.