Pharmacokinetic and Pharmacodynamic Consequences of Cytochrome P450 3A Inhibition on Mitragynine Metabolism in Rats

Shyam H. Kamble, Samuel Obeng, Francisco León, Luis F. Restrepo, Tamara I. King, Erin C. Berthold, Siva Rama Raju Kanumuri, Lea R. Gamez-Jimenez, Victoria L.C. Pallares, Avi Patel, Nicholas P. Ho, Aidan Hampson, Christopher R. McCurdy, Lance R. McMahon, Jenny L. Wilkerson, Abhisheak Sharma, Takato Hiranita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Mitragynine, an opioidergic alkaloid present in Mitragyna speciosa (kratom), is metabolized by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) to 7-hydroxymitragynine, a more potent opioid receptor agonist. The extent to which conversion to 7-hydroxymitragynine mediates the in vivo effects of mitragynine is unclear. The current study examined how CYP3A inhibition (ketoconazole) modifies the pharmacokinetics of mitragynine in rat liver microsomes in vitro. The study further examined how ketoconazole modifies the discriminative stimulus and antinociceptive effects of mitragynine in rats. Ketoconazole [30 mg/kg, oral gavage (o.g.)] increased systemic exposure to mitragynine (13.3 mg/kg, o.g.) by 120% and 7-hydroxymitragynine exposure by 130%. The unexpected increase in exposure to 7-hydroxymitragy-nine suggested that ketoconazole inhibits metabolism of both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, a finding confirmed in rat liver microsomes. In rats discriminating 3.2 mg/kg morphine from vehicle under a fixed-ratio schedule of food delivery, ketoconazole pretreatment increased the potency of both mitragynine (4.7-fold) and 7-hydroxymitragynine (9.7-fold). Ketoconazole did not affect morphine’s potency. Ketoconazole increased the antinociceptive potency of 7-hydroxymitragynine by 4.1-fold. Mitragynine (up to 56 mg/kg, i.p.) lacked antinociceptive effects both in the presence and absence of ketoconazole. These results suggest that both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are cleared via CYP3A and that 7-hydroxymi-tragynine is formed as a metabolite of mitragynine by other routes. These results have implications for kratom use in combination with numerous medications and citrus juices that inhibit CYP3A. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Mitragynine is an abundant kratom alkaloid that exhibits low efficacy at the l-opioid receptor (MOR). Its metabolite, 7-hydrox-ymitragynine, is also an MOR agonist but with higher affinity and efficacy than mitragynine. Our results in rats demonstrate that cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) inhibition can increase the systematic exposure of both mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitra-gynine and their potency to produce MOR-mediated behavioral effects. These data highlight potential interactions between kratom and CYP3A inhibitors, which include numerous medications and citrus juices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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