Metabolism of medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) via CYP enzymes in vitro and effect of MPA on bleeding time in female rats in dependence on CYP activity in vivo

Life Sci. 2003 Nov 7;73(25):3201-12. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2003.05.004.


Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is a drug commonly used in endocrine therapy for advanced breast cancer, although it is known to cause thrombosis as a serious side effect. Recently, we found that cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) mainly catalyzed the metabolism of MPA via CYP in human liver microsomes. However, the metabolic products of MPA in humans and rats have not been elucidated. In addition, it is not clear whether thrombosis could be induced by MPA itself or by its metabolites. In this study, we determined the overall metabolism of MPA as the disappearance of the parent drug from an incubation mixture, and identified the enzymes catalyzing the metabolism of MPA via CYP in rats. Moreover, the effects of CYP-modulators on MPA-induced hypercoagulation in vivo were examined. Intrinsic clearance of MPA in rat liver microsomes was increased by treatment with CYP3A-inducers. The intrinsic clearance of MPA in liver microsomes of rats treated with various CYP-inducers showed a significant correlation with CYP3A activity, but not CYP1A activity, CYP2B activity or CYP2C contents. Among the eight recombinant rat CYPs studied, CYP3A1, CYP3A2 and CYP2A2 catalyzed the metabolism of MPA. However, since CYP3A2 and CYP2A2 are male-specific isoforms, CYP3A1 appears to be mainly involved in the metabolism of MPA in liver microsomes of female rats. In an in vivo study, pretreatment of female rats with SKF525A, an inhibitor of CYPs including CYP3A1, significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced MPA-induced hypercoagulation, whereas pretreatment with phenobarbital, an inducer of CYPs including CYP3A1, reduced it. These findings suggest that CYP-catalyzed metabolism of MPA is mainly catalyzed by CYP3A1 and that MPA-induced hypercoagulation is predominantly caused by MPA itself in female rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bleeding Time
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / biosynthesis*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Isoenzymes
  • Male
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / metabolism*
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / therapeutic use*
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology
  • Phenobarbital / pharmacology
  • Proadifen / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Thrombophilia / drug therapy*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Proadifen
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • CYP3A4 protein, human
  • Phenobarbital