Tertiary amines related to brompheniramine: preferred conformations for N-oxygenation by the hog liver flavin-containing monooxygenase

Pharm Res. 1993 Aug;10(8):1097-105. doi: 10.1023/a:1018947714030.


The metabolism of racemic, (D)- and (L)-brompheniramine, a widely used antihistamine, was studied with microsomes and with highly purified flavin-containing monooxygenase (FMO) from hog liver. In addition, a number of other similar tertiary amines were evaluated as substrates for FMO activity from hog liver and the kinetic constants obtained were compared with brompheniramine. Although some N-demethylation was observed, the major metabolite of brompheniramine and the other tertiary amines examined in hog liver microsomes was the metabolite containing an aliphatic nitrogen N-oxide. Brompheniramine was extensively N-oxygenated by the highly purified FMO from hog liver. N-Oxygenation of brompheniramine in both microsomes and with highly purified FMO from hog liver was enantioselective. The Km for N-oxygenation of (D)-brompheniramine was markedly lower than the Km for (L)-brompheniramine. (E)- and (Z)-zimeldine are less conformationally flexible model compounds of brompheniramine, and these compounds were also examined and were found to be stereoselectively N-oxygenated by the highly purified FMO from hog liver. The similarities and differences in Km and Vmax values were evaluated in terms of possible conformations of the substrates determined by SYBYL molecular mechanics calculations. Distance map data indicated that FMO preferentially accommodated selected conformations of tertiary amines. Thus, (D)-brompheniramine and (Z)-zimeldine presumably have the aliphatic tertiary amine nitrogen atom and aromatic ring center at a defined distance and geometry and were more efficiently N-oxygenated than their respective isomers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amines / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brompheniramine / analogs & derivatives
  • Brompheniramine / metabolism*
  • Dealkylation
  • Flavins / metabolism*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Swine
  • Zimeldine / pharmacology


  • Amines
  • Flavins
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Zimeldine
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Brompheniramine