N-Hydroxylation of dapsone by multiple enzymes of cytochrome P450: implications for inhibition of haemotoxicity

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Dec;40(6):531-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.1995.tb05797.x.


1. The adverse reactions associated with the administration of dapsone are believed to be caused by metabolism to its hydroxylamine. Previous reports suggest that CYP3A4 is responsible for this biotransformation [1]. 2. Data presented in this paper illustrate the involvement of more than one cytochrome P450 enzyme in dapsone hydroxylamine formation using human liver microsomes. Eadie-Hofstee plots demonstrated bi-phasic kinetics in several livers. No correlation could be established between hydroxylamine formation and CYP3A concentrations in six human livers (r = -0.47; P = 0.34). 3. Studies with low molecular weight inhibitors illustrate the importance of CYP2C9 and CYP3A in dapsone N-hydroxylation. 4. Differential sensitivity of dapsone N-hydroxylation to selective CYP inhibitors indicated that the contribution of individual CYP enzymes varies between livers. Selective inhibition ranged from 6.8 to 44.1% by 5 microM ketoconazole, and from 24.0 to 68.4% by 100 microM sulphaphenazole. The extent of inhibition, by either ketoconazole or sulphaphenazole was dependent on the CYP3A content of the liver. 5. The levels of expression of these cytochrome P450 enzymes may be an important determinant of individual susceptibility to the toxic effects of dapsone, and may influence the ability of an enzyme inhibitor to block dapsone toxicity in vivo. Because of the inability to produce complete inhibition, selective CYP inhibitors are unlikely to offer any clinical advantage over cimetidine in decreasing dapsone hydroxylamine formation in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents / metabolism*
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Dapsone / adverse effects
  • Dapsone / analogs & derivatives
  • Dapsone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation
  • Ketoconazole / pharmacology*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sulfaphenazole / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Sulfaphenazole
  • Dapsone
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • 4-amino-4'-hydroxylaminodiphenylsulfone
  • Ketoconazole