Stereoselective glucuronidation metabolism, pharmacokinetics, anti-amnesic pharmacodynamics, and toxic properties of vasicine enantiomersin vitroandin vivo

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Abstract

Vasicine (VAS) is a potential natural cholinesterase inhibitor for treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Due to one chiral centre (C-3) presenting in molecule, VAS has two enantiomers, d-vasicine (d-VAS) and l-vasicine (l-VAS). The study was undertaken to investigate the stereoselective glucuronidation metabolism, pharmacokinetics, anti-amnesic effect and acute toxicity of VAS enantiomers. In results, the glucuronidation metabolic rate of l-VAS was faster than d-VAS in human liver microsomes and isoenzymes tests, and it was proved that the UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) 1A9 and UGT2B15 were the major metabolic enzymes for glucuronidation of l-VAS, while only UGT1A9 for d-VAS, which take responsibility of the significantly less metabolic affinity of d-VAS than l-VAS in HLM and rhUGT1A9. The plasma exposure of d-VAS in rats was 1.3-fold and 1.6-fold higher than that of l-VAS after intravenous and oral administration of d-VAS and l-VAS, respectively. And the plasma exposure of the major glucuronidation metabolite d-VASG was one of tenth of l-VASG or more less, no matter by intravenous or oral administration. Both d-VAS and l-VAS were exhibited promising acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibitory activities, and the BChE inhibitory activity of d-VAS with IC50 of 0.03 ± 0.001 μM was significantly stronger than that of l-VAS with IC50 of 0.98 ± 0.19 μM. The molecular docking results indicated that d-VAS and l-VAS could bind to the catalytic active site (CAS position) either of human AChE and BChE, and the BChE combing ability of d-VAS (the score of GBI/WAS dG −7.398) was stronger than that of l-VAS (the score of GBI/WAS dG −7.135). Both d-VAS and l-VAS could improving the learning and memory on scopolamine-induced memory deficits in mice. The content of acetylcholine (ACh) after oral administration d-VAS increased more than that of l-VAS in mice cortex, through inhibiting cholinesterase (ChE) and increasing choline acetyltransferase (ChAT). In addition, the LD50 value of d-VAS (282.51 mg·kg−1) was slight lower than l-VAS (319.75 mg·kg−1). These results indicated that VAS enantiomers displayed significantly stereoselective metabolic, pharmacokinetics, anti-amnesic effect and toxic properties in vitro and in vivo. The d-VAS might be the dominant configuration for treating Alzheimer's disease.

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