Use of cDNA-expressed human cytochrome P450 enzymes to study potential drug-drug interactions

Adv Pharmacol. 1997:43:171-88. doi: 10.1016/s1054-3589(08)60205-7.


Complementary DNA (cDNA)-expressed human cytochrome P450 enzymes provide a reproducible, consistent source of single enzymes for many types of studies. The use of single enzymes systems, relative to multienzyme systems, has distinct advantages and disadvantages depending on the specific application. cDNA-expressed materials have advantages in the analysis of cytochrome P450 form-selective metabolism of a drug or drug candidate. This analysis can be accomplished by direct incubation of the drug with microsomes prepared from cells expressing a single cytochrome P450 form coupled with analysis of either metabolite formation or loss of parent compound. This approach allows the unambiguous assignment of specific biotransformations to specific enzymes. However, extending these data to the balance of enzymes present in human liver microsomes can be problematic. New approaches for relating rates of metabolism for cDNA-expressed enzymes to human liver microsomes metabolism are being developed (Crespi, 1995). In addition, cDNA-expressed enzymes can be used to study the cytochrome P450 form-selective inhibition by drugs or drug candidates. This analysis is accomplished through the study of the inhibition of the metabolism of a model substrate by the drug or drug candidate. Through these analyses, apparent Ki values can be obtained and compared to Ki values for known, clinically significant inhibitors of the same enzyme. For this application, cDNA-expressed, single enzyme systems have distinct advantages because of greater flexibility in the choice of model substrates and the lack of competing pathways of metabolism. Specific data for the use of cDNA-expressed CYP2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4 are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / biosynthesis
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drug Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme Inhibitors
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • CYP2C9 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C9
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • CYP3A4 protein, human