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Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Carboxylesterases (CES) constitute a class of hydrolytic enzymes that play critical roles in drug metabolism and lipid mobilization. Previous studies with a large number of human liver samples have suggested that the inducibility of carboxylesterases is inversely related with age. To directly test this possibility, neonatal (10 days of age) and adult mice were treated with the antiepileptic agent phenobarbital. The expression and hydrolytic activity were determined on six major carboxylesterases including ces1d, the ortholog of human CES1. Without exception, all carboxylesterases tested were induced to a greater extent in neonatal than adult mice. The induction was detected at mRNA, protein and catalytic levels. Ces1d was greatly induced and found to rapidly hydrolyze the antiplatelet agent clopidogrel and support the accumulation of neutral lipids. Phenobarbital represents a large number of therapeutic agents that induce drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters in a species-conserved manner. The higher inducibility of carboxylesterases in the developmental age likely represents a general phenomenon cross species including human. Consequently, individuals in the developmental age may experience greater drug–drug interactions. The greater induction of ces1d also provides a molecular explanation to the clinical observation that children on antiepileptic drugs increase plasma lipids.

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