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Midazolam (MDZ), a benzodiazepine derivative, is metabolized to 1′- and 4-hydroxylated metabolites (1′-OH-MDZ and 4-OH-MDZ, respectively) by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). The purpose of this study was to investigate the CYP3A-mediated hydroxylation of MDZ in the rat brain mitochondria (MT). Brain microsomes (MC) and MT fractions were prepared from rats (n = 8) using differential and density gradient centrifugations, and the purity of the fractions was evaluated using VDAC1 and calreticulin as markers of MT and MC, respectively. The formation rates of 1′-OH-MDZ and 4-OH-MDZ in the rat brain MC and MT samples were determined using an LC–MS/MS method after validation. Subsequently, Michaelis–Menten kinetics of 1′- and 4-hydroxylation of MDZ were estimated. Western blot (WB) analysis was used to determine the protein expression of CYP3A in the rat brain MC and MT. The MC fractions had 5.93% ± 3.01% mitochondrial impurity, and the MT fractions had 19.3% ± 7.8% microsomal impurity (mean ± SD). The maximum velocity (Vmax) values of the formation of the hydroxylated metabolites in the brain MT were 2.4–9-fold higher than those in MC. Further, the Vmax values of 4-OH-MDZ in both MC and MT fractions were substantially higher than those of 1′-OH-MDZ. The WB analysis showed that the intensity of the CYP3A immunoreactive band in MT was more than twofold higher than that in MC. It is concluded that compared with MC, rat brain MT contains substantial CYP3A, which may affect the pharmacology or toxicology of centrally acting xenobiotic and endogenous substrates of this enzyme.


This article was originally published in Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology in 2022.


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