Drug glucuronidation by human renal UDP-glucuronosyltransferases

Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Apr 1;55(7):1005-12. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(97)00534-0.


The UDP-glucuronosyltransferases catalyse the conjugation of glucuronic acid to a wide variety of endobiotics and xenobiotics, representing one of the major conjugation reactions in the conversion of both exogenous (e.g. drugs and pesticides) and endogenous compounds (e.g. bilirubin and steroid hormones). The liver is the major site of glucuronidation, however a number of extrahepatic tissues exhibit particular UDP-glucuronosyltransferase activities. The present study was undertaken to assess the human renal UDP-glucuronosyltransferase system. Enzymatic analysis of human kidney showed that a limited number of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase isoforms were expressed in this tissue. However the level of renal UGT activity towards the anaesthetic propofol was higher compared with human liver. The glucuronidation of propofol is catalysed by UGT1A8/9 suggesting higher levels of this isoform in the kidney. Immunoblot analysis revealed two major UDP-glucuronosyltransferase immunopositive bands to be present in human kidney as compared to four major bands in human liver. The human kidney was capable of conjugating various structurally diverse drugs and xenobiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bilirubin / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chromatography, Thin Layer
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Glucuronates / metabolism
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kidney / enzymology*
  • Microsomes / enzymology
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism


  • Glucuronates
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Xenobiotics
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Bilirubin