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Drug Metabolism Letters


ISSN (Print): 1872-3128
ISSN (Online): 1874-0758

Research Article

Transport of Bupropion and its Metabolites by the Model CHO and HEK293 Cell Lines

Author(s): Lyrialle W. Han, Chunying Gao, Yuchen Zhang, Joanne Wang and Qingcheng Mao*

Volume 13, Issue 1, 2019

Page: [25 - 36] Pages: 12

DOI: 10.2174/1872312813666181129101507


Background: Bupropion (BUP) is widely used as an antidepressant and smoking cessation aid. There are three major pharmacologically active metabolites of BUP, Erythrohydrobupropion (EB), Hydroxybupropion (OHB) and Threohydrobupropion (TB). At present, the mechanisms underlying the overall disposition and systemic clearance of BUP and its metabolites have not been well understood, and the role of transporters has not been studied.

Objective: The goal of this study was to investigate whether BUP and its active metabolites are substrates of the major hepatic uptake and efflux transporters.

Method: CHO or HEK293 cell lines or plasma membrane vesicles that overexpress OATP1B1, OATP1B3, OATP2B1, OATP4A1, OCT1, BCRP, MRP2 or P-gp were used in cellular or vesicle uptake and inhibition assays. Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to quantify transport activity.

Results: BUP and its major active metabolites were actively transported into the CHO or HEK293 cells overexpressing OATP1B1, OATP1B3 or OATP2B1; however, such cellular active uptake could not be inhibited at all by prototypical inhibitors of any of the OATP transporters. These compounds were not transported by OCT1, BCRP, MRP2 or P-gp either. These results suggest that the major known hepatic transporters likely play a minor role in the overall disposition and systemic clearance of BUP and its active metabolites in humans. We also demonstrated that BUP and its metabolites were not transported by OATP4A1, an uptake transporter on the apical membrane of placental syncytiotrophoblasts, suggesting that OATP4A1 is not responsible for the transfer of BUP and its metabolites from the maternal blood to the fetal compartment across the placental barrier in pregnant women.

Conclusion: BUP and metabolites are not substrates of the major hepatic transporters tested and thus these hepatic transporters likely do not play a role in the overall disposition of the drug. Our results also suggest that caution should be taken when using the model CHO and HEK293 cell lines to evaluate potential roles of transporters in drug disposition.

Keywords: Bupropion, hydroxybupropion, threohydrobupropion, erythrohydrobupropion, OATP, OCT1, BCRP, MRP2, P-gp.

Graphical Abstract
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