Epimerization and racemization of some chiral drugs in the presence of human serum albumin

Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1990 Jan;38(1):180-4. doi: 10.1248/cpb.38.180.


Epimerization and racemization of carbenicillin, ethiazide, etoposide and oxazepam acetate were examined kinetically in the presence of human serum albumin (HSA). The concentration of both optical isomers of each drug was determined by stereospecific high-performance liquid chromatography. The apparent rate constants of epimerization or racemization and hydrolysis were estimated from the concentration-time data. HSA retarded the racemization of ethiazide and the epimerization of etoposide. The binding of the drugs to HSA may inhibit the attack of hydroxy ion and/or water molecule and thus retard the epimerization and the racemization. HSA accelerated the epimerization of carbenicillin, which is charged at the pH studied. Ion-ion and ion-dipole interactions between carbenicillin and HSA activate the carbenicillin molecule favorable for the attack of hydroxy ion and/or water molecule. The hydrolysis rates of ethiazide, carbenicillin and oxazepam acetate were increased by the addition of HSA. The hydrolysis rate of d-oxazepam acetate enantiomer bound to HSA was twice that of the l-enantiomer, which suggests that the esterase-like activity of HSA is enantioselective. Differences in the binding affinities of the drug's enantiomers to HSA may account for the selectivity.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Humans
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Serum Albumin / analysis*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Serum Albumin