Aims: Clozapine (CLZ), an atypical neuroleptic with a high risk of causing agranulocytosis, is metabolized in the liver to desmethylclozapine (DCLZ) and clozapine N-oxide (CLZ-NO). This study investigated the involvement of different CYP isoforms in the formation of these two metabolites.
Methods: Human liver microsomal incubations, chemical inhibitors, specific antibodies, and different cytochrome P450 expression systems were used.
Results: Km and Vmax values determined in human liver microsomes were lower for the demethylation (61 +/- 21 microM, 159 +/- 42 pmol min(-1) mg protein(-1) mean +/- s.d.; n = 4), than for the N-oxidation of CLZ (308 +/- 1.5 microM, 456 +/- 167 pmol min(-1) mg protein(-1); n = 3). Formation of DCLZ was inhibited by fluvoxamine (53 +/- 28% at 10 microM), triacetyloleandomycin (33 +/- 15% at 10 microM), and ketoconazole (51 +/- 28% at 2 microM) and by antibodies against CYP1A2 and CYP3A4. CLZ-NO formation was inhibited by triacetyloleandomycin (34 +/- 16% at 10 microM) and ketoconazole (51 +/- 13% at 2 microM), and by antibodies against CYP3A4. There was a significant correlation between CYP3A content and DCLZ formation in microsomes from 15 human livers (r=0.67; P=0.04). A high but not significant correlation coefficient was found for CYP3A content and CLZ-NO formation (r=0.59; P=0.09). Using expression systems it was shown that CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 formed DCLZ and CLZ-NO. Km and Vmax values were lower in the CYP1A2 expression system compared to CYP3A4 for both metabolic reactions.
Conclusions: It is concluded that CYP1A2 and CYP3A4 are involved in the demethylation of CLZ and CYP3A4 in the N-oxidation of CLZ. Close monitoring of CLZ plasma levels is recommended in patients treated at the same time with other drugs affecting these two enzymes.