Species differences of serum albumins: I. Drug binding sites

Pharm Res. 1997 Nov;14(11):1607-12. doi: 10.1023/a:1012138604016.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was the classification and identification of drug binding sites on albumins from several species in order to understand species differences of both drug binding properties and drug interaction on protein binding.

Methods: Binding properties and types of drug-drug interaction on the different albumins were examined using typical site I binding drugs, warfarin (WF) and phenylbutazone (PBZ), and site II binding drugs, ibuprofen (IP) and diazepam (DZ) on human albumin. Equilibrium dialysis was carried out for two drugs and the free concentrations of drugs were then treated using the methods of Kragh-Hansen (Mol. Pharmacol. 34. 160-171, (1988)).

Results: Binding affinities of site I drugs to bovine, rabbit and rat albumins were reasonably similar to human albumin. However, interestingly, those to dog albumin were considerably smaller than human albumin. On the other hand, binding parameters of DZ to bovine, rabbit and rat albumins were apparently different from those of human albumin. These differences are best explained by microenvironmental changes in the binding sites resulting from change of size and/or hydrophobicity of the binding pocket, rather than a variation in amino acid residues. CONCLUSIONS. We will propose herein that mammalian serum albumins used in this study contain specific drug binding sites: Rabbit and rat albumins contain a drug binding site, corresponding to site I on human albumin, and dog albumin contains a specific drug binding site corresponding to site II on the human albumin molecule.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Diazepam / metabolism
  • Dogs
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / metabolism
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Phenylbutazone / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Serum Albumin / isolation & purification
  • Serum Albumin / metabolism*
  • Warfarin / metabolism


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Serum Albumin
  • Warfarin
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Diazepam
  • Ibuprofen