CYP2C19 and 3A4 Dominate Metabolic Clearance and Bioactivation of Terbinafine Based on Computational and Experimental Approaches

Mary A. Davis, Dustyn A. Barnette, Noah R. Flynn, Anirudh S. Pidugu, S. Joshua Swamidass, Gunnar Boysen, Grover P. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Lamisil (terbinafine) is an effective, widely prescribed antifungal drug that causes rare idiosyncratic hepatotoxicity. The proposed toxic mechanism involves a reactive metabolite, 6,6-dimethyl-2-hepten-4-ynal (TBF-A), formed through three N-dealkylation pathways. We were the first to characterize them using in vitro studies with human liver microsomes and modeling approaches, yet knowledge of the individual enzymes catalyzing reactions remained unknown. Herein, we employed experimental and computational tools to assess terbinafine metabolism by specific cytochrome P450 isozymes. In vitro inhibitor phenotyping studies revealed six isozymes were involved in one or more N-dealkylation pathways. CYP2C19 and 3A4 contributed to all pathways, and so, we targeted them for steady-state analyses with recombinant isozymes. N-Dealkylation yielding TBF-A directly was catalyzed by CYP2C19 and 3A4 similarly. Nevertheless, CYP2C19 was more efficient than CYP3A4 at N-demethylation and other steps leading to TBF-A. Unlike microsomal reactions, N-denaphthylation was surprisingly efficient for CYP2C19 and 3A4, which was validated by controls. CYP2C19 was the most efficient among all reactions. Nonetheless, CYP3A4 was more selective at steps leading to TBF-A, making it more effective in terbinafine bioactivation based on metabolic split ratios for competing pathways. Model predictions did not extrapolate to quantitative kinetic constants, yet some results for CYP3A4 and CYP2C19 agreed qualitatively with preferred reaction steps and pathways. Clinical data on drug interactions support the CYP3A4 role in terbinafine metabolism, while CYP2C19 remains understudied. Taken together, knowledge of P450s responsible for terbinafine metabolism and TBF-A formation provides a foundation for investigating and mitigating the impact of P450 variations in toxic risks posed to patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1164
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 17 2019


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