Laboratory of Toxicology, Department of Environmental Veterinary Sciences, Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, N18W9 North Ward, Sapporo 060-0818, Japan. email@example.com
Knowledge of strain differences in drug metabolism is important for the selection of animals for pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and toxicological studies. Hepatic microsomes from Sprague-Dawley (SD) and Brown Norway (BN) rats had 300-fold higher diazepam p-hydroxylation activity than Dark Agouti (DA) and Wistar (W) rats at a low diazepam concentration (3 microM). Kinetic studies indicated that diazepam p-hydroxylation in SD and BN rats proceeded with lower K(m) and higher V(max) values than it did in DA and W rats. However, the expression levels of cytochrome P450 CYP2D1, the reported enzyme for diazepam p-hydroxylation, did not cosegregate with the activity. These results suggest the presence of a new high-affinity diazepam p-hydroxylation enzyme other than CYP2D1 in SD and BN rats. DA rats showed 3- and 2-fold higher diazepam 3-hydroxylation and N-desmethylation activities, respectively, than the other rat strains. In agreement with this, DA rat liver microsomes had a higher expression of CYP3A2, which is responsible for diazepam 3-hydroxylation and partly responsible for N-desmethylation. Values of CL(int) (V(max)/K(m)) indicated that p-hydroxy-diazepam is the major metabolite in SD and BN rats, whereas 3-hydroxy-diazepam is the major metabolite in DA and W rats. The sum of the CL(int) in each strain was in the order of DA > SD = BN >> W. Strain differences in the pharmacodynamics of diazepam between SD and DA rats may be due to these differences in diazepam metabolism. We found that both the rate of elimination of diazepam and the major metabolic pathways in diazepam metabolism differed among the different rat strains due to polymorphic expression of the two enzymes involved in diazepam metabolism.