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07 Nov 2014

The relative contribution of hepatic compared with intestinal oxidative metabolism is a crucial factor in drug oral bioavailability and therapeutic efficacy. Oxidative metabolism is mediated by the cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenase system to which cytochrome P450 reductase (POR) is the essential electron donor. In order to study the relative importance of these pathways in drug disposition, we have generated a novel mouse line where Cre recombinase is driven off the endogenous Cyp1a1 gene promoter; this line was then crossed on to a floxed POR mouse. A 40 mg/kg dose of the Cyp1a1 inducer 3-methylcholanthrene (3MC) eliminated POR expression in both liver and small intestine, whereas treatment at 4 mg/kg led to a more targeted deletion in the liver. Using this approach, we have studied the pharmacokinetics of three probe drugs–paroxetine, midazolam, nelfinavir–and show that intestinal metabolism is a determinant of oral bioavailability for the two latter compounds. The Endogenous Reductase Locus (ERL) mouse represents a significant advance on previous POR deletion models as it allows direct comparison of hepatic and intestinal effects on drug and xenobiotic clearance using lower doses of a single Cre inducing agent, and in addition minimizes any cytotoxic effects, which may compromise interpretation of the experimental data.