Background:Mitragyna speciosa leaves have been abused by drug addicts as some of the alkaloids (mainly mitragynine) from the plant possess opiate and cocaine-like effects. These bring to its prohibition in Malaysia in 2004 as consumption of M. speciosa leaves has been perceived to lead to the abuse of other drugs such as cannabis and heroin.
Methods: In the current study, the in vitro and in vivo effects of M. speciosa methanolic, aqueous and total alkaloid leaves extracts on drug metabolizing enzymes, namely, cytochrome P450s (CYP450s) and UDP-glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) had been evaluated in rat liver cytosolic fraction and microsomes. Aminopyrine and p-nitrophenol (pNP) were employed as probe substrates in aminopyrine N-demethylase (APND) and UGT enzyme assays, respectively. Furthermore, mitragynine was also tested in vitro for its likelihood to inhibit APND and UGT activity. The assessment of the enzyme activity was conducted using spectrophotometric methods.
Results:In vitro, the IC50 value could only be obtained for the methanolic extract in APND study (595.30±30.78 µg/mL) and not in other studies due to the enzyme percentage inhibitions being <70%. In contrast to the in vitro study, the oral treatment of male Sprague-Dawley rats for 14 days with 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg of methanolic and aqueous extracts and with 5, 10 and 20 mg/kg of total alkaloid extract showed a profound increment on the APND and UGT activities.
Conclusions: The current findings showed that possibilities exist for herb-drug interaction with increased clearance of drugs, which are primarily metabolized by CYP450s and UGT1A6 among M. speciosa leaves extract users.
Conflict of interest statement
Authors’ conflict of interest disclosure: The authors stated that there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this article. Research funding played no role in thestudy design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretationof data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision tosubmit the report for publication.
Research funding: This project was funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Grant and the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Research University Grant.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Fellowship: Juzaili Azizi is supported by the USM Fellowship Scheme from the Institute of Postgraduate Studies (IPS) of the Universiti Sains Malaysia.
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