Frontiers in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume: 2

Prediction of Drug Metabolism: The Case of Cytochrome P450 2D6

Author(s): Nico P.E. Vermeulen

Pp: 571-586 (16)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805205910502010571

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Cytochromes P450 (Cyt P450s) constitute the most important biotransformation enzymes involved in the biotransformation of drugs and other xenobiotics. Because drug metabolism by Cyt P450s plays such an important role in the disposition and in the pharmacological and toxicological effects of drugs, early consideration of ADME-properties is increasingly seen as essential for the discovery and the development of new drugs and drug candidates.

The primary aim of this paper is to present various computational approaches used to rationalize and predict the activity and substrate selectivity of Cyt P450s, as well as the possibilities and limitations of these approaches, now and in the future. Attention is also paid to the experimental validation of these approaches by using high-throughput screening (HTS) of affinities to drug-drug interactions at the level of Cyt P450-isoenzymes. Since human Cyt P450 2D6 is one of the most important drug metabolizing enzymes and since in this regard much pioneering work has been done with this Cyt P450, Cyt P450 2D6 is chosen as a model for this discussion.

Apart from early mechanism-based ab initio calculations on substrates of Cyt P450 2D6, pharmacophore modeling of ligands (i.e. both substrates and inhibitors) of Cyt P450 2D6 and protein homology modeling have been used succesfully for the rationalisation and prediction of metabolite formation by this Cyt P450 isoenzyme. Significant protein structure-related species differences have been reported recently.

It is concluded that not one computational approach is capable of rationalizing and reliably predicting metabolite formation by Cyt P450 2D6, but that it is rather the combination of the various complimentary approaches. It is moreover concluded, that experimental validation of the computational models and predictions is often still lacking. With the advent of novel, easily and well applicable in vitro based high throughput assays for ligand binding and turnover this limitation could be overcome soon, however. When effective links with other new and recent developments, such as bioinformatics, neural network computing, genomics and proteomics can be created, in silico rationalisation and prediction of drug metabolism by Cyt P450s is likely to become one of the key technologies in early drug discovery and development processes.

Keywords: Cytochrome P450 2D6, Drug Metabolism, Drug Discovery and Development, In Silico Prediction, High-Throughput Screening

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