Comparative biotransformation of morphine, codeine and pholcodine in rat hepatocytes: identification of a novel metabolite of pholcodine

M. Jairaj, D.G. Watson, M.H. Grant, G.G. Skellern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Pholcodine (3-morpholinoethylmorphine), a semi-synthetic alkaloid, is widely used as an antitussive agent. 2. Norpholcodine [7,8-didehydro-4,5alpha-epoxy-3-(2-morpholinoethoxy)morphinan-6alpha-ol] (NP) and pholcodine-N-oxide [1(9a)-dehydro-(4aR,5S,7aR,9cS,12S)-4a,5,7a,8,9,9a-hexahydro-5-hydroxy-12-methyl-3-morpholinoethoxy-1H-8,9,c-(iminoethano)phenanthro[4,5-bcd] furan-12-oxide] (PNOX) were identified in incubations of pholcodine with freshly isolated rat hepatocytes by liquid chromatography/electrospray-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS). 3. Synthesized NP and PNOX were characterized by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 4. N-oxidation was the major metabolic pathway for pholcodine, producing a previously unreported metabolite. 5. The metabolism of morphine and codeine was also determined using freshly isolated hepatocytes. 6. For morphine, 3-glucuronidation was the major metabolic pathway, whilst for codeine it was dealkylation (O- and N-). 7. Neither morphine nor its metabolites were metabolites of pholcodine. 8. This observation supports the hypothesis that the absence of analgesic activity with pholcodine may be due to less O-dealkylation in vivo. 9. Together with the slow biotransformation of pholcodine (k(met) = 0.021 microM min(-1)) in comparison with morphine (k(met) = 0.057 microM min(-1)) and codeine (k(met) = 0.112 microM min(-1)), the results obtained were consistent with its low addiction potential and suggest that its antitussive efficacy is mediated by the parent drug or one of its metabolites other than morphine.
LanguageEnglish
Pages979-986
Number of pages8
JournalXenobiotica
Volume32
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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Codeine
Biotransformation
Metabolites
Morphine
Rats
Hepatocytes
Antitussive Agents
Dealkylation
Metabolic Networks and Pathways
Oxides
Mass spectrometry
Morphinans
Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry
Liquid chromatography
pholcodine
Alkaloids
Metabolism
Liquid Chromatography
Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Analgesics

Keywords

  • rat hepatocytes
  • morphine, codeine and
  • pholcodine

Cite this

@article{d5f5264a75f849a5b191bed9dcf054c5,
title = "Comparative biotransformation of morphine, codeine and pholcodine in rat hepatocytes: identification of a novel metabolite of pholcodine",
abstract = "1. Pholcodine (3-morpholinoethylmorphine), a semi-synthetic alkaloid, is widely used as an antitussive agent. 2. Norpholcodine [7,8-didehydro-4,5alpha-epoxy-3-(2-morpholinoethoxy)morphinan-6alpha-ol] (NP) and pholcodine-N-oxide [1(9a)-dehydro-(4aR,5S,7aR,9cS,12S)-4a,5,7a,8,9,9a-hexahydro-5-hydroxy-12-methyl-3-morpholinoethoxy-1H-8,9,c-(iminoethano)phenanthro[4,5-bcd] furan-12-oxide] (PNOX) were identified in incubations of pholcodine with freshly isolated rat hepatocytes by liquid chromatography/electrospray-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS). 3. Synthesized NP and PNOX were characterized by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 4. N-oxidation was the major metabolic pathway for pholcodine, producing a previously unreported metabolite. 5. The metabolism of morphine and codeine was also determined using freshly isolated hepatocytes. 6. For morphine, 3-glucuronidation was the major metabolic pathway, whilst for codeine it was dealkylation (O- and N-). 7. Neither morphine nor its metabolites were metabolites of pholcodine. 8. This observation supports the hypothesis that the absence of analgesic activity with pholcodine may be due to less O-dealkylation in vivo. 9. Together with the slow biotransformation of pholcodine (k(met) = 0.021 microM min(-1)) in comparison with morphine (k(met) = 0.057 microM min(-1)) and codeine (k(met) = 0.112 microM min(-1)), the results obtained were consistent with its low addiction potential and suggest that its antitussive efficacy is mediated by the parent drug or one of its metabolites other than morphine.",
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Comparative biotransformation of morphine, codeine and pholcodine in rat hepatocytes: identification of a novel metabolite of pholcodine. / Jairaj, M.; Watson, D.G.; Grant, M.H.; Skellern, G.G.

In: Xenobiotica, Vol. 32, No. 12, 2002, p. 979-986.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Comparative biotransformation of morphine, codeine and pholcodine in rat hepatocytes: identification of a novel metabolite of pholcodine

AU - Jairaj, M.

AU - Watson, D.G.

AU - Grant, M.H.

AU - Skellern, G.G.

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - 1. Pholcodine (3-morpholinoethylmorphine), a semi-synthetic alkaloid, is widely used as an antitussive agent. 2. Norpholcodine [7,8-didehydro-4,5alpha-epoxy-3-(2-morpholinoethoxy)morphinan-6alpha-ol] (NP) and pholcodine-N-oxide [1(9a)-dehydro-(4aR,5S,7aR,9cS,12S)-4a,5,7a,8,9,9a-hexahydro-5-hydroxy-12-methyl-3-morpholinoethoxy-1H-8,9,c-(iminoethano)phenanthro[4,5-bcd] furan-12-oxide] (PNOX) were identified in incubations of pholcodine with freshly isolated rat hepatocytes by liquid chromatography/electrospray-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS). 3. Synthesized NP and PNOX were characterized by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 4. N-oxidation was the major metabolic pathway for pholcodine, producing a previously unreported metabolite. 5. The metabolism of morphine and codeine was also determined using freshly isolated hepatocytes. 6. For morphine, 3-glucuronidation was the major metabolic pathway, whilst for codeine it was dealkylation (O- and N-). 7. Neither morphine nor its metabolites were metabolites of pholcodine. 8. This observation supports the hypothesis that the absence of analgesic activity with pholcodine may be due to less O-dealkylation in vivo. 9. Together with the slow biotransformation of pholcodine (k(met) = 0.021 microM min(-1)) in comparison with morphine (k(met) = 0.057 microM min(-1)) and codeine (k(met) = 0.112 microM min(-1)), the results obtained were consistent with its low addiction potential and suggest that its antitussive efficacy is mediated by the parent drug or one of its metabolites other than morphine.

AB - 1. Pholcodine (3-morpholinoethylmorphine), a semi-synthetic alkaloid, is widely used as an antitussive agent. 2. Norpholcodine [7,8-didehydro-4,5alpha-epoxy-3-(2-morpholinoethoxy)morphinan-6alpha-ol] (NP) and pholcodine-N-oxide [1(9a)-dehydro-(4aR,5S,7aR,9cS,12S)-4a,5,7a,8,9,9a-hexahydro-5-hydroxy-12-methyl-3-morpholinoethoxy-1H-8,9,c-(iminoethano)phenanthro[4,5-bcd] furan-12-oxide] (PNOX) were identified in incubations of pholcodine with freshly isolated rat hepatocytes by liquid chromatography/electrospray-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS). 3. Synthesized NP and PNOX were characterized by mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. 4. N-oxidation was the major metabolic pathway for pholcodine, producing a previously unreported metabolite. 5. The metabolism of morphine and codeine was also determined using freshly isolated hepatocytes. 6. For morphine, 3-glucuronidation was the major metabolic pathway, whilst for codeine it was dealkylation (O- and N-). 7. Neither morphine nor its metabolites were metabolites of pholcodine. 8. This observation supports the hypothesis that the absence of analgesic activity with pholcodine may be due to less O-dealkylation in vivo. 9. Together with the slow biotransformation of pholcodine (k(met) = 0.021 microM min(-1)) in comparison with morphine (k(met) = 0.057 microM min(-1)) and codeine (k(met) = 0.112 microM min(-1)), the results obtained were consistent with its low addiction potential and suggest that its antitussive efficacy is mediated by the parent drug or one of its metabolites other than morphine.

KW - rat hepatocytes

KW - morphine, codeine and

KW - pholcodine

U2 - 10.1080/0049825021000017911

DO - 10.1080/0049825021000017911

M3 - Article

VL - 32

SP - 979

EP - 986

JO - Xenobiotica

T2 - Xenobiotica

JF - Xenobiotica

SN - 0049-8254

IS - 12

ER -