Renal drug metabolism in humans: the potential for drug-endobiotic interactions involving cytochrome P450 (CYP) and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Oct;76(4):587-602. doi: 10.1111/bcp.12086.


Although knowledge of human renal cytochrome P450 (CYP) and UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes and their role in xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism is limited compared with hepatic drug and chemical metabolism, accumulating evidence indicates that human kidney has significant metabolic capacity. Of the drug metabolizing P450s in families 1 to 3, there is definitive evidence for only CYP 2B6 and 3A5 expression in human kidney. CYP 1A1, 1A2, 1B1, 2A6, 2C19, 2D6 and 2E1 are not expressed in human kidney, while data for CYP 2C8, 2C9 and 3A4 expression are equivocal. It is further known that several P450 enzymes involved in the metabolism of arachidonic acid and eicosanoids are expressed in human kidney, CYP 4A11, 4F2, 4F8, 4F11 and 4F12. With the current limited evidence of drug substrates for human renal P450s drug-endobiotic interactions arising from inhibition of renal P450s, particularly effects on arachidonic acid metabolism, appear unlikely. With respect to the UGTs, 1A5, 1A6, 1A7, 1A9, 2B4, 2B7 and 2B17 are expressed in human kidney, whereas UGT 1A1, 1A3, 1A4, 1A8, 1A10, 2B10, 2B11 and 2B15 are not. The most abundantly expressed renal UGTs are 1A9 and 2B7, which play a significant role in the glucuronidation of drugs, arachidonic acid, prostaglandins, leukotrienes and P450 derived arachidonic acid metabolites. Modulation by drug substrates (e.g. NSAIDs) of the intrarenal activity of UGT1A9 and UGT2B7 has the potential to perturb the metabolism of renal mediators including aldosterone, prostaglandins and 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, thus disrupting renal homeostasis.

Keywords: UDP-glucuronosyltransferase; arachidonic acid; cytochrome P450; drug metabolism; human kidney; hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Kidney / enzymology*
  • Leukotrienes / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids
  • Leukotrienes
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Prostaglandins
  • Xenobiotics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Glucuronosyltransferase