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Detoxification of the tricyclic antidepressant opipramol and its analog – IS-noh by UGT enzymes before and after activation by phase I enzymes in rat liver microsomes

Anna Mieszkowska, Koleta Hemine, Anna Skwierawska, Ewa Augustin, and Zofia Mazerska

Department of Pharmaceutical Technology and Biochemistry, Chemical Faculty, Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdańsk, Poland



Received: 18 November 2020  Accepted: 9 April 2021


The present studies were carried out to evaluate the simultaneous one-pot metabolism of opipramol (IS-opi) and analog (IS-noh) by phase I and phase II enzymes present in rat liver microsomes (RLM) as an alternative to separate testing with recombinant enzymes. This approach allows for more time-saving and cost-effective screening of the metabolism of newly discovered drugs. We also considered that the lack of results for phase II, including UGT, often creates problems in correct selection of valuable compounds. Moreover, microsomes data set is richer in the contest and provides medical scientist to determine also the susceptibility of drugs to undergo phase I and then phase II. In the present work, we have shown that IS-noh was metabolized in vitro by phase I enzymes to the oxidation product, which was next transformed with UGTs to glucuronide. The results showed also that the previously known oxidation product of opipramol was changed to previously no reported glucuronidation product by UDP-glucuronosyltransferases. In addition, unlike IS-noh, opipramol did not prove to be the substrate for UGTs. Therefore, tricyclic antidepressants depending on the structure can trigger a different response after contact with UGT enzymes. Some will metabolize directly with UGTs, others only after activation by phase I enzymes.

Keywords: TCAs; Drug metabolism; UDP-glucuronosyltransferases; IS-noh; Opipramol

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-021-01647-2


Chemical Papers 75 (9) 4973–4978 (2021)

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