Progesterone and testosterone hydroxylation by cytochromes P450 2C19, 2C9, and 3A4 in human liver microsomes

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 Oct 1;346(1):161-9. doi: 10.1006/abbi.1997.0302.


Roles of human cytochrome P450 (P450 or CYP) 2C9, 2C19, and 3A4 in the oxidation of progesterone and testosterone were studied in recombinant P450 enzymes and in human liver microsomes. In vitro inhibition experiments showed that progesterone and its 17alpha- and 21-hydroxylated metabolites and 11-deoxycortisol suppressed the CYP2C19-dependent R-warfarin 7-hydroxylation activities, with progesterone being the most active. These steroid chemicals also inhibited CYP2C9-dependent S-warfarin 7-hydroxylation activities though lesser extents seen with those in CYP2C19 enzyme. Progesterone was found to be a competitive inhibitor of CYP2C19 and CYP2C9 in human liver microsomes. Recombinant CYP2C19 catalyzed progesterone to form 21-hydroxyprogesterone as a major product and 16alpha- and 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone as minor products. CYP2C9 also had progesterone 21-hydroxylation activities, although the activities were lower than those catalyzed by CYP2C19. Vmax/Km ratios for the progesterone 21-hydroxylation activity of CYP2C19 were determined to be 13- and 32-fold higher than those of CYP2C9 and 3A4, respectively. CYP3A4 oxidized progesterone to form 16alpha-, 6beta-, and 2beta-hydroxyprogesterone as major products and 21-hydroxyprogesterone as a minor product, but did not produce detectable levels of 17alpha-hydroxyprogesterone. Immunoinhibition experiments suggested that anti-CYP2C9 (which inhibits both CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 catalytic activities) suppressed the progesterone 21-hydroxylation activities catalyzed by liver microsomes of humans and monkeys and that anti-CYP2C11 inhibited the progesterone 21-hydroxylation activities catalyzed by liver microsomes of male rats. CYP2C19 was also found to oxidize testosterone at 17-position to form androstenedione. Androstenedione formation catalyzed by liver microsomes of humans and monkeys and of male rats was suppressed by anti-CYP2C9 and anti-CYP2C11, respectively. These results suggest that CYP2C19 plays important roles in the oxidation of progesterone and testosterone in human liver microsomes, although the physiological significance of these metabolic pathways remains unclear. CYP2C9 may have some, but lesser extent than those by CYP2C19, of the catalytic roles for the metabolism of progesterone and testosterone by human liver microsomes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Androstenedione / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 2
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxylation / drug effects
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Microsomes / enzymology*
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism*
  • Progesterone / metabolism*
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Species Specificity
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / genetics
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Testosterone / metabolism*
  • Warfarin / metabolism


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Testosterone
  • Androstenedione
  • Progesterone
  • Warfarin
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • CYP2C9 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP2C11 protein, rat
  • CYP2C19 protein, human
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 2
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • CYP3A4 protein, human