DOI: 10.2174/2949681016666230830125358 ISSN:

Stimulatory and inhibitory effects of steroid hormones and human cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A inhibitors on cortisol 6β-hydroxylation catalyzed by CYP3A subfamilies

Toshiro Niwa, Misaki Tani, Anna Suzuki, Mizuho Murakami


The inhibitory and stimulatory effects of several compounds, including steroid hormones and azole antifungal agents, on cortisol 6β-hydroxylation activity by cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4, polymorphically expressed CYP3A5, and fetal CYP3A7 were compared with those on testosterone 6β-hydroxylation to clarify the catalytic properties of the predominant forms of the human CYP3A subfamily.


6β-Hydroxylation activities of cortisol and testosterone by CYP3A4, CYP3A5, and CYP3A7 in the absence or presence of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), α-naphthoflavone (ANF), ketoconazole, itraconazole, and voriconazole were measured using high-performance liquid chromatography.


Lower concentrations of DHEA and ANF increased cortisol 6β-hydroxylation activities catalyzed by CYP3A4 but not those catalyzed by CYP3A5 and CYP3A7. The inhibition strength of azole antifungal agents against cortisol 6β-hydroxylation catalyzed by all CYP3A subfamilies was similar to that of testosterone 6β-hydroxylation. Although the Michaelis constant (Km) increased 2-fold in the presence of 20 µM DHEA compared to that of the control, the maximal velocity (Vmax) values gradually increased with increasing DHEA. For ANF, both Km and Vmax values increased, although the Km value decreased at 2.5 µM concentrations. Ketoconazole and itraconazole competitively inhibited cortisol 6β-hydroxylation mediated by CYP3A4 with similar inhibition constants.


The inhibitory/stimulatory pattern among CYP3A subfamily members differed between cortisol and testosterone, and CYP3A4 was found to be the most sensitive in terms of inhibition by azole antifungals among the CYP3A subfamily members investigated.

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