In vitro and in vivo small intestinal metabolism of CYP3A and UGT substrates in preclinical animals species and humans: species differences

Drug Metab Rev. 2011 Nov;43(4):476-98. doi: 10.3109/03602532.2011.597401. Epub 2011 Aug 23.


Intestinal first-pass metabolism has a great impact on the bioavailability of cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A) and/or uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP)-glucoronosyltranferase (UGT) substrates in humans. In vitro and in vivo intestinal metabolism studies are essential for clarifying pharmacokinetics in animal species and for predicting the effects of human intestinal metabolism. We review species differences in intestinal metabolism both in vitro and in vivo. Based on mRNA expression levels, the major intestinal CYP3A isoform is CYP3A4 for humans, CYP3A4 (3A8) for monkeys, CYP3A9 for rats, cyp3a13 for mice, and CYP3A12 for dogs. Additionally, the intestinal-specific UGT would be UGT1A10 for humans, UGT1A8 for monkeys, and UGT1A7 for rats. In vitro and in vivo intestinal metabolism of CYP3A substrates were larger in monkeys than in humans, although a correlation in intestinal availability between monkeys and humans has been reported. Little information is available regarding species differences in in vitro and in vivo UGT activities; however, UGT-mediated in vivo intestinal metabolism has been demonstrated for raloxifene in humans and for baicalein in rats. Further assessment of intestinal metabolism, particularly for UGT substrates, is required to clarify the entire picture of species differences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / enzymology*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Species Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity


  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Glucuronosyltransferase