Procainamide, a type I antiarrhythmic agent, is used to treat a variety of atrial and ventricular dysrhythmias. It was reported that long-term therapy with procainamide may cause lupus erythematosus in 25-30% of patients. Interestingly, procainamide does not induce lupus erythematosus in mouse models. To explore the differences in this side-effect of procainamide between humans and mouse models, metabolomic analysis using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI-QTOFMS) was conducted on urine samples from procainamide-treated humans, CYP2D6-humanized mice, and wild-type mice. Thirteen urinary procainamide metabolites, including nine novel metabolites, derived from P450-dependent, FMO-dependent oxidations and acylation reactions, were identified and structurally elucidated. In vivo metabolism of procainamide in CYP2D6-humanized mice as well as in vitro incubations with microsomes and recombinant P450s suggested that human CYP2D6 plays a major role in procainamide metabolism. Significant differences in N-acylation and N-oxidation of the drug between humans and mice largely account for the interspecies differences in procainamide metabolism. Significant levels of the novel N-oxide metabolites produced by FMO1 and FMO3 in humans might be associated with the development of procainamide-induced systemic lupus erythematosus. Observations based on this metabolomic study offer clues to understanding procainamide-induced lupus in humans and the effect of P450s and FMOs on procainamide N-oxidation.
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