This investigation focused on the mRNA expression of drug metabolising Cytochromes P-450 (CYP) and UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGT) and the transport protein P-glycoprotein (Pgp) in the small intestine of humans and rats.
The mRNA expression of the investigated genes in the human small intestine (duodenum) varies between individuals giving each one of us personal profile. In general, the most dominant forms are Pgp, CYPs 2C9, 2D6, 3A4, and UGTs 1A1, 1A10, 2B7. However, which of these is the highest expressed one varies between individuals.
The correlation in expression between some CYP forms and UGT forms respectively is relatively high, which indicates that they have some regulatory mechanisms in common. It was also shown that the mRNA expression of both CYPs and UGTs may be affected by endogenous and exogenous factors. Sex and ethnic background, affected the mRNA expression of CYP2A6 and 2E1 respectively. Commonly used drugs such as acetylsalicylicacid (ASA) and omeprazole (omep) affect CYP2A6, CYP2E1 (ASA) and CYP3A4, UGT1A4 (omep). The expression of UGT1A4 is also affected by smoking. All these factors are commonly used and can therefore lead to important drug-drug interactions.
It was also shown that the human small intestinal CYP mRNA expression pattern differs from that found in the rat. The rat CYP expression is rather constant between the different individuals, and the main rat intestinal forms are CYP1A1, CYP2C, CYP2D6 and CYP3A1. The expression is the same for females and males and no difference can be seen between the different segments of the rat small intestine. As metabolic studies have often been done with rat liver we compared the mRNA expression in the two organs. We found that the mRNA expression of 1A1 was absent in the liver and that the CYP2B1, CYP2Cs, CYP2D1 and Pgp all had a stronger mRNA expression in the small intestine compared to the liver. It is therefore important to realise that results from metabolic studies on liver may not be directly extrapolated to the small intestine.
Artemisinin is an orally used drug in multidrug treatment of malaria in Southeast Asia. It has been suggested that artemisinin can induce drug metabolism and therefore be involved in drug-drug interactions. This study shows that artemisinin induces mainly the CYP2B via nuclear receptor CAR.