Morphine Glucuronidation and Glucosidation Represent Complementary Metabolic Pathways That Are Both Catalyzed by UDP-Glucuronosyltransferase 2B7: Kinetic, Inhibition, and Molecular Modeling Studies

Nuy Chau, David Elliot, Benjamin Lewis, Kushari Burns, Martin Johnston, Peter Mackenzie, John Miners

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    38 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Morphine 3-β-D-glucuronide (M3G) and morphine 6-β-D-glucuronide (M6G) are the major metabolites of morphine in humans. More recently, morphine-3-β-D-glucoside (M-3-glucoside) was identified in the urine of patients treated with morphine. Kinetic and inhibition studies using human liver microsomes (HLM) and recombinant UGTs as enzyme sources along with molecular modeling were used here to characterize the relationship between morphine glucuronidation and glucosidation. The M3G to M6G intrinsic clearance (CL int) ratio (∼5.5) from HLM supplemented with UDP-glucuronic acid (UDP-GlcUA) alone was consistent with the relative formation of these metabolites in humans. The mean CLint values observed for M-3-glucoside by incubations of HLM with UDP-glucose (UDP-Glc) as cofactor were approximately twice those for M6G formation. However, although the M3G-to-M6G CLint ratio remained close to 5.5 when human liver microsomal kinetic studies were performed in the presence of a 1:1 mixture of cofactors, the mean CLint value for M-3-glucoside formation was less than that of M6G. Studies with UGT enzyme-selective inhibitors and recombinant UGT enzymes, along with effects of BSA on morphine glycosidation kinetics, were consistent with amajor role of UGT2B7 in both morphine glucuronidation and glucosidation. Molecular modeling identified key amino acids involved in the binding of UDP-GlcUA and UDP-Glc to UGT2B7. Mutagenesis of these residues abolished morphine glucuronidation and glucosidation. Overall, the data indicate that morphine glucuronidation and glucosidation occur as complementary metabolic pathways catalyzed by a common enzyme (UGT2B7). Glucuronidation is the dominant metabolic pathway because the binding affinity of UDP-GlcUA to UGT2B7 is higher than that of UDP-Glc.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)126-137
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
    Volume349
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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