Species and Tissue Differences in β-Estradiol 17-Glucuronidation

Biol Pharm Bull. 2017;40(10):1754-1758. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b17-00365.


Uridine 5'-diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) is expressed in the liver and extrahepatic tissues. One of the major metabolic pathways of β-estradiol (E2) is glucuronidation at the 17-hydroxy position by UGTs. This study was performed to determine E2 17-glucuronidation kinetics in human and rodent liver, small intestine, and kidney microsomes and to clarify the species and tissue differences. In the human liver and small intestine, Eadie-Hofstee plots exhibited biphasic kinetics, suggesting that E2 17-glucuronide (E17G) formation was catalyzed by more than two UGT isoforms in both tissues. The Km values for E17G formation by the high-affinity enzymes in the human liver and small intestine were 1.79 and 1.12 µM, respectively, and corresponding values for the low-affinity enzymes were 3.72 and 11.36 µM, respectively. Meanwhile, E17G formation in the human kidney was fitted to the Hill equation (S50=1.73 µM, n=1.63), implying that the UGT isoform catalyzing E17G formation in the kidney differed from that in the liver and small intestine. The maximum clearance for E17G formation in the human kidney was higher than the intrinsic clearance in the liver. E17G formation in the rat liver and kidney exhibited biphasic kinetics, whereas that in the small intestine was fitted to the Hill equation. In mice, all 3 tissues exhibited biphasic kinetics. In conclusion, we reported species and tissue differences in E2 17-glucuronidation, which occurred not only in the human liver but also in the extrahepatic tissues particularly the kidney.

Keywords: enzyme kinetic study; species difference; tissue difference; uridine 5′-diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase; β-estradiol.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Glucuronides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Species Specificity


  • Glucuronides
  • Estradiol