• Metabolism-based Alterations of Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR) Activity and Downstream Effects

      Mackowiak, Bryan; Wang, Hongbing, Ph.D. (2019)
      The xenobiotic defense network in the liver has evolved so that many foreign compounds can activate xenobiotic receptors like the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and the pregnane x receptor (PXR), induce the expression of drug metabolizing enzymes, and enhance the clearance of drugs. Typically, autoinduction of a compound’s metabolism leads to its breakdown, disrupting the detoxification feedback loop. However, multiple lines of evidence suggest that metabolites of autoinducers can have diverse effects on xenobiotic receptors, including agonism and antagonism conversion, and cause unexpected consequences, including drug-drug interactions (DDIs) that can lead to liver toxicity. While the effect of xenobiotic receptor-mediated CYP induction on drug metabolism has been well-characterized, the effect of metabolism on the activity of xenobiotic receptors has received little attention. Although the “traditional” role of CAR revolves around inducing xenobiotic metabolism and detoxification, evidence has accumulated that CAR also plays important roles in energy metabolism, cellular proliferation, and liver homeostasis, making it a potential drug target for various liver disorders. In addition, the effects of CAR activation in human primary hepatocytes (HPH) are not well understood and need further study to determine whether or not CAR is a potential drug target for different types of liver dysfunction, including cancer. The overall objectives of this proposal are to investigate the effect of drug metabolism on CAR activity, identify FDA-approved drugs and metabolites that alter CAR activity, and determine whether CAR activation is beneficial for liver disorders such as cancer. Using CAR as a model xenobiotic receptor, my studies have shown that potent CAR antagonist PK11195 is metabolized to a CAR agonist in metabolically-competent systems. Therefore, I hypothesize that hepatic metabolism capacity and CAR activity can form a regulatory feedback loop, altering the PK/PD profiles of drug substrates. Successful completion of these studies has provided a model for metabolism-based changes in xenobiotic receptor activity, identified FDA-approved drugs that modulate CAR activity, and determined the clinically-relevant downstream effects of CAR activation.