Activation of the antiviral prodrug oseltamivir is impaired by two newly identified carboxylesterase 1 variants.

Article Details


Zhu HJ, Markowitz JS

Activation of the antiviral prodrug oseltamivir is impaired by two newly identified carboxylesterase 1 variants.

Drug Metab Dispos. 2009 Feb;37(2):264-7. doi: 10.1124/dmd.108.024943. Epub 2008 Nov 20.

PubMed ID
19022936 [ View in PubMed

Oseltamivir phosphate is an ethyl ester prodrug widely used in the treatment and prevention of both Influenzavirus A and B infections. The conversion of oseltamivir to its active metabolite oseltamivir carboxylate is dependent on ester hydrolysis mediated by carboxylesterase 1 (CES1). We recently identified two functional CES1 variants p.Gly143Glu and p.Asp260fs in a research subject who displayed significant impairment in his ability to metabolize the selective CES1 substrate, methylphenidate. In vitro functional studies demonstrated that the presence of either of the two mutations can result in severe reductions in the catalytic efficiency of CES1 toward methylphenidate, which is required for hydrolysis and pharmacological deactivation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the function of these mutations on activating (hydrolyzing) oseltamivir to oseltamivir carboxylate using the cell lines expressing wild type (WT) and each mutant CES1. In vitro incubation studies demonstrated that the S9 fractions prepared from the cells transfected with WT CES1 and human liver tissues rapidly convert oseltamivir to oseltamivir carboxylate. However, the catalytic activity of the mutant hydrolases was dramatically hindered. The V(max) value of p.Gly143Glu was approximately 25% of that of WT enzyme, whereas the catalytic activity of p.Asp260fs was negligible. These results suggest that the therapeutic efficacy of oseltamivir could be compromised in treated patients expressing either functional CES1 mutation. Furthermore, the potential for increased adverse effects or toxicity as a result of exposure to high concentrations of the nonhydrolyzed prodrug should be considered.

DrugBank Data that Cites this Article

Drug Enzymes
DrugEnzymeKindOrganismPharmacological ActionActions
OseltamivirLiver carboxylesterase 1ProteinHumans
Drug Reactions