Identification of N-(hydroxymethyl) norcotinine as a major product of cytochrome P450 2A6, but not cytochrome P450 2A13-catalyzed cotinine metabolism

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Abstract

Cotinine formation is the major pathway of nicotine metabolism in smokers, and the primary pathway of cotinine metabolism is trans-3′-hydroxylation. trans-3′-Hydroxycotinine and its glucuronide conjugate account for up to 50% of the nicotine metabolites excreted by smokers. Minor metabolites of cotinine excreted by smokers include norcotinine and cotinine N-oxide, each of which account for < 5% of the nicotine dose. It has been reported that P450 2A6 is the catalyst of cotinine metabolism. However, we report here that the major product of P450 2A6-catalyzed cotinine metabolism is N-(hydroxymethyl) norcotinine, a previously unknown human metabolite of cotinine. N-(Hydroxymethyl)norcotinine was chemically synthesized, and its stability under the conditions of the enzyme reactions was confirmed. The products of P450 2A6-catalyzed [5-3H] cotinine metabolism were quantified by radioflow HPLC. The identification of N-(hydroxymethyl)norcotinine as the major metabolite was based on HPLC analysis on three unique systems and coelution with N-(hydroxymethyl)norcotinine standard. 5′-Hydroxycotinine and trans-3′-hydroxycotinine were minor products of P450 2A6-catalyzed cotinine metabolism, accounting for 14 and 8% of the total cotinine metabolites, respectively. N-(Hydroxymethyl)norcotinine was a product of cotinine metabolism by the extrahepatic P450, 2A13, but it was a minor one. The major product of P450 2A13-catalyzed cotinine metabolism was 5′-hydroxycotinine, which was formed at twice the rate of trans-3′-hydroxycotinine. The identification of all cotinine metabolites formed by both enzymes was confirmed by LC/MS/MS analysis. Kinetic parameters for cotinine metabolism were determined for P450 2A6 and P450 2A13. This work has confirmed that the major metabolite of cotinine in smokers, trans-3′-hydroxycotinine, is only a minor metabolite of P450 2A6-catalyzed cotinine metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1792-1798
Number of pages7
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Volume18
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

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