Aging and cimetidine may each impair hepatic microsomal drug metabolism. To test if and by what mechanisms advanced age may increase sensitivity to the inhibitory effects of cimetidine, the interaction of these two factors with aminopyrine metabolism in the rat was studied using a correlative approach. Initial studies using the aminopyrine breath test indicated that a 40 mg/kg dose of cimetidine, i.p., impaired the 14CO2 exhaled by up to 76% more in aged (26-month) than in young (3- to 4-month-old) rats. Using an isolated liver perfusion to dissect out hepatic components of this phenomenon, it was found that various doses of cimetidine impaired aminopyrine clearance to a greater degree (P < 0.05) in aged than in young livers. However, cimetidine metabolism in this system ranged from 36 to 78% less in aged versus young livers (P < 0.05). Subsequent in vitro studies indicated that microsomes isolated from aged livers also averaged a 76% lower rate of cimetidine metabolism (P < 0.05). A fixed cimetidine concentration, however, inhibited aminopyrine demethylation to the same degree in aged versus young rats (P < 0.05). In vivo pharmacokinetics showed an age-related decrease in both aminopyrine and cimetidine systemic clearance. In the young rat the liver contributed about 30% to total systemic clearance of cimetidine. In the aged rat, all clearance was renal. Despite a decrease in glomerular nitration rate, net tubular cimetidine secretion was well-maintained. Despite this, absence of the hepatic component resulted in decreased overall systemic clearance of the drug in aged rats. It is concluded that (1) the aged rat liver exhibits impaired cimetidine metabolism, resulting in decreased overall systemic clearance of the drug despite normal net renal tubular secretion, (2) there is no age-related enhanced sensitivity to cimetidine of the hepatic microsomal oxidizing system using aminopyrine as the probe drug, and (3) the larger inhibition of aminopyrine metabolism in aged rats following various doses of cimetidine is due to decreased overall cimetidine clearance, resulting in higher concentrations of the inhibitor in the liver of aged rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas