W Alderton, S Berghmans, P Butler, H Chassaing, A Fleming, Z Golder, F Richards, I Gardner
This study examined the accumulation and metabolism of a number of drugs and commonly used probes for human cytochrome P450s (CYPs) in zebrafish larvae under conditions relevant to pharmacological and toxicological assays. Studies with cisapride, chlorpromazine, verapamil, testosterone, and dextromethorphan showed that the zebrafish larvae catalyze a range of phase 1 (oxidation, N-demethylation, O-de-ethylation, and N-dealkylation) and phase 2 (sulfation and glucuronidation) reactions. Both similarities and differences in the metabolic pathways were observed in zebrafish larvae when compared to mammals. Metabolism of phenacetin to paracetamol and dextromethorphan to dextrorphan (metabolic reactions catalyzed by CYP 1A2 and 2D6 in humans respectively) were observed in the zebrafish larvae. In addition the zebrafish larvae 7 days post fertilization (7 d.p.f.) hydroxylated diclofenac, bupropion, tacrine, and testosterone. Although metabolites of several compounds were detected in zebrafish larvae, in the instances where the metabolite amounts were quantified, the amount of any specific metabolite formed was low, accounting for only a small percentage of the amount of parent compound added. Furthermore, when the concentrations of metabolite present in the zebrafish larvae were compared with the measured level of parent compound, the metabolite concentrations were always much lower than that of parent compound. Overall, for the compounds used in the current study it is unlikely that the quantified metabolites would significantly contribute to the outcome of safety pharmacology or toxicology studies conducted in zebrafish larvae under the paradigms typically used for such investigations.