In vitro activity of uva-ursi against cytochrome P450 isoenzymes and P-glycoprotein

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 Nov;85(11):1099-107. doi: 10.1139/Y07-106.


Some natural health products (NHPs) affect drug metabolism enzymes and transport proteins, potentially affecting the safety and efficacy of the drug or other NHPs. This study was undertaken to characterize the effect of uva-ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) on cytochrome P450 isozyme (3A4, 3A5, 3A7, 2C19, and 19)-mediated metabolism and P-glycoprotein (P-gp) transport. Three bulk and 2 capsulated uva-ursi samples were obtained from commercial outlets. The capsules were batched, and herbal samples were ground to a common consistency. Aqueous and methanol extracts were freshly prepared. Cytochrome P450 isozyme-mediated metabolism was determined by using in vitro bioassays. P-gp transport function was determined by using a rhodamine 123 (Rh123) uptake test in human (THP-1) monocytes and human Caco-2 cells. All products were analyzed by HPLC for arbutin, gallic acid, myricitrin, and isoquercetin. A large variation was observed in the biomarkers found between the bulk and capsulated samples. Our data indicate that both the aqueous and methanol extracts of all 5 uva-ursi products showed high cytochrome P450 isozyme inhibition, with the exception of the methanol extracts against cytochromes P3A4 and P19, which had low to moderate activity. The aqueous extracts of uva-ursi showed an inhibitory effect on Rh123 efflux by P-gp at 1 h and an inductive effect at 18 h for both cell lines. Our results show that the uva-ursi herbal products tested here have pharmacological properties, including the potential capacity to affect drug safety and efficacy. Further studies are warranted against a wider range of cytochrome P450 isozymes and to determine whether these effects are clinically significant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / metabolism*
  • Arctostaphylos* / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • Isoenzymes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System