In vitro evaluation of human cytochrome P450 and P-glycoprotein-mediated metabolism of some phytochemicals in extracts and formulations of African potato
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African potato (Hypoxis hemerocallidea, AP) is a traditional herbal medicine widely used as an immune booster and also for the treatment of various ailments such as urinary diseases, prostrate hypertrophy and cancer. Amongst the chemical components contained in AP, the norlignan glycoside, hypoxoside (HYP) is purported to be the most important phytochemical in terms of AP's medicinal value. Additional constituents in AP include the sterols, beta-sitosterol (BSS), stigmasterol (STG), and the stanol, stigmastanol (STN). The potential of extracts of AP, AP formulations as well as HYP, its aglycone rooperol (ROP) and the sterols to inhibit in vitro metabolism of drug marker substrates by human cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes such as CYP3A4, 3A5 and CYP19 were investigated. Samples were also assessed for their effect on drug transport proteins such as P-glycoprotein (P-gp). The effects on CYP-mediated metabolism were studied by fluorometric microtitre plate assay. The potential interaction with P-gp was investigated by measuring the efflux of the fluorescent dye rhodamine 123 (Rh 123) in the CaCo-2 (colon carcinoma) cell line. Various extracts of AP, AP formulations, only STG and the norlignans, in particular the aglycone ROP, exhibited inhibitory effects on CYP3A4-, 3A5- and 19-mediated metabolism. The extracts and the formulations that contained a significant amount of HYP showed high induction of P-gp compared to the positive control, ritonavir. Whilst extrapolation of the current in vitro findings to clinical effects may well be considered speculative, these in vitro data should be heeded as a signal of possible in vivo interactions. Appropriate measures are therefore necessary to explore the possibility of such in vitro-in vivo correlations.
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