Key words FK506
Cytochrome P-450 3A
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Tacrolimus (FK506) and cyclosporin A (CsA) are two potent immunosuppressants mainly metabolized by hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A (CYP3A) monooxygenase. The aim of this study was to compare the toxic effects of the two drugs on hepatocytes in primary culture as a function of their metabolism and to explore the variations of cytotoxicity when both drugs are associated. The cytotoxicity of FK506 and CsA, as expressed by their IC50 values, was of the same order but with a switch according to whether hepatocytes were induced or uninduced by dexamethasone, CsA being more toxic in its native form and FK506 through its metabolism. Similar results were obtained with the intracellular calcium content. When both drugs were associated at their IC50 values, the expected additive cytotoxic effect was not observed. Moreover, when small quantities of FK506 were added to CsA at its IC50, cell viability improved in the induced cultures. It is hypothesized that the interaction between the two drugs relies on a mechanism involving both competition of FK506 and CsA for CYP3A and of their immunophilin complexes for a common site on the calcineurin-calmodulin complex.
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