30 October 2015
Oxymatrine (OMT) is a pharmacologically active primary quinolizidine alkaloid with various beneficial and toxic effects. It is confirmed that, after oral administration, OMT could be transformed to the more toxic metabolite matrine (MT), and this process may be through the reduction reaction, but the study on the characteristics of this transformation is limited. The aim of this study was to investigate the characteristics of this transformation of OMT in the human liver microsomes (HLMs) and human intestinal microsomes (HIMs) and the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoforms involved in this transformation. The current studies demonstrated that OMT could be metabolized to MT rapidly in HLMs and HIMs and CYP3A4 greatly contributed to this transformation. All HLMs, HIMs, and CYP3A4 isoform mediated reduction reaction followed typical biphasic kinetic model, and K m, V max, and CL were significant higher in HLMs than those in HIMs. Importantly, different oxygen contents could significantly affect the metabolism of OMT, and with the oxygen content decreased, the formation of metabolite was increased, suggesting this transformation was very likely a reduction reaction. Results of this in vitro study elucidated the metabolic pathways and characteristics of metabolism of OMT to MT and would provide a theoretical basis and guidance for the safe application of OMT.