Kinetics of acetaminophen glucuronidation by UDP-glucuronosyltransferases 1A1, 1A6, 1A9 and 2B15. Potential implications in acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity

Chem Res Toxicol. 2006 May;19(5):701-9. doi: 10.1021/tx050317i.


The importance of uridine 5'-diphosphate-glucuronosyltranferases (UGT) 2B15 and other UGT enzymes (1A1, 1A6, and 1A9) in glucuronidating acetaminophen (APAP) is demonstrated. The kinetics and contributions of various UGTs in glucuronidating APAP are presented using clinically and toxicologically relevant concentrations of the substrate. UGT 1A9 and UGT 2B15 contribute significantly toward glucuronidating APAP when incubations were conducted in either phosphate or Tris-HCl buffers at 0.1 and 1.0 mM substrate concentrations. At 10 mM APAP, UGT 1A9 is a significant enzyme responsible for metabolizing APAP in either one of the buffers. UGT 1A1 is the next most important enzyme in glucuronidating APAP at this high substrate concentration. The contribution of UGT 1A6 at 10 mM APAP concentration became obscured by similar relative activities exhibited by UGTs 1A7, 1A8, and 2B7. These observations may reflect the differences in kinetic parameters for APAP glucuronidation by the individual UGTs. UGT 1A1 demonstrated Hill kinetics while UGT 1A9 displayed Michaelis-Menten kinetics. Substrate inhibition kinetics is observed with UGT 1A6, UGT 2B15, and human liver microsomes. The substrate inhibition is confirmed by employing stable isotope-labeled APAP as the substrate, while APAP glucuronide is used to test for inhibition of d4-APAP glucuronide. The in vitro hepatotoxicity caused by APAP in combination with phenobarbital or phenytoin is demonstrated in this study. The inhibition of APAP glucuronidation by phenobarbital leads to an increase in APAP-mediated toxicity in human hepatocytes. The toxicity to hepatocytes was further increased by coadministering APAP with phenytoin and phenobarbital. This synergistic increase in toxicity is postulated to be due to inhibition of UGTs (1A6, 1A9, and 2B15) responsible for detoxifying APAP through the glucuronidation pathway.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / pharmacokinetics*
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / pharmacokinetics
  • Biotransformation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glucuronides / metabolism*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Glucuronides
  • Acetaminophen
  • Glucuronosyltransferase