Interactions between naringenin and the cytochrome P450 (CYP) system have been of interest since the first demonstration that grapefruit juice reduced CYP3A activity. The effects of naringenin on other CYP isoforms have been less investigated. In addition, it is well known that interactions with enzymes are often stereospecific, but due to the lack of readily available, chirally pure naringenin enantiomers, the enantioselectivity of its effects has not been characterized. We isolated pure naringenin enantiomers by chiral HPLC and tested the ability of (R)-, (S)-and racnaringenin to inhibit several important drug-metabolizing CYP isoforms using recombinant enzymes and pooled human liver microsomes. Naringenin was able to inhibit CYP19, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 with IC50 values below 5 μM. No appreciable inhibition of CYP2B6 or CYP2D6 was observed at concentrations up to 10 μM. While (S)-naringenin was 2-fold more potent as an inhibitor of CYP19 and CYP2C19 than (R)-naringenin, (R)-naringenin was 2-fold more potent for CYP2C9 and CYP3A. Chiral flavanones like naringenin are difficult to separate into their enantiomeric forms, but enantioselective effects may be observed that ultimately impact clinical effects. Inhibition of specific drug metabolizing enzymes by naringenin observed in vitro may be exploited to understand pharmacokinetic changes seen in vivo.
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