Propofol, an intravenous anesthetic agent, is widely used for inducing and maintaining anesthesia during surgical procedures and for sedating intensive care unit patients. In the clinic, rapid elimination is one of the major advantages of propofol. Meanwhile, the biotransformation and drug interactions of propofol in rat livers are still little known. In this study, we evaluated the ring-oxidative metabolism of propofol in phenobarbital-treated rat livers and possible drug interactions. Administration of phenobarbital to male Wistar rats significantly increased levels of hepatic cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2B1/2 and microsomal pentoxyresorufin O-dealkylase (PROD) activity. Analyses by high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography mass spectroscopy revealed that propofol was metabolized by phenobarbital-treated rat liver microsomes into 4-hydroxypropofol. In comparison, PROD activity and 4-hydroxy-propofol production from propofol metabolism were suppressed by orphenodrine, an inhibitor of CYP2B1/2, and a polyclonal antibody against rat CYP2B1/2 protein. Furthermore, exposure of rats to propofol did not affect the basal or phenobarbital-enhanced levels of hepatic CYP2B1/2 protein. Meanwhile, propofol decreased the dealkylation of pentoxyresorufin by phenobarbital-treated rat liver microsomes in a concentration-dependent manner. Taken together, this study shows that rat hepatic CYP2B1/2 plays a critical role in the ring-oxidative metabolism of propofol into 4-hydroxypropofol, and this anesthetic agent can inhibit CYP2B1/2 activity without affecting protein synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number658928
JournalBioMed Research International
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ring-oxidative biotransformation and drug interactions of propofol in the livers of rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this