Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Diabetes Are Associated with Decreased CYP3A4 Protein Expression and Activity in Human Liver

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver disease in the Western population. We investigated the association of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and diabetes mellitus on CYP3A4 activity in human liver tissue from brain dead donors (n = 74). Histopathologically graded livers were grouped into normal (n = 24), nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL, n = 26), and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, n = 24) categories. The rate of conversion of midazolam to its 1-hydroxy metabolite was used to assess in vitro CYP3A4 activity in human liver microsomes (HLM). A proteomics approach was utilized to quantify the protein expression of CYP3A4 and related enzymes. Moreover, a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model was developed to allow prediction of midazolam concentration in NAFL and NASH livers. CYP3A4 activity in NAFL and NASH was 1.9- and 3.1-fold (p < 0.05) lower than normal donors, respectively. Intrinsic clearance (CLint) was 2.7- (p < 0.05) and 4.1-fold (p < 0.01) lower in donors with NAFL and NASH, respectively. CYP3A4 protein expression was significantly lower in NAFL and NASH donors (p < 0.05) and accounted for significant midazolam hydroxylation variability in a multiple linear regression analysis (β = 0.869, r2 = 0.762, P < 0.01). Diabetes was also associated with decreased CYP3A4 activity and protein expression. Both midazolam CLint and CYP3A4 protein abundance decreased significantly with increase in hepatic fat accumulation. Age and gender did not exhibit any significant association with the observed alterations. Predicted midazolam exposure was 1.7- and 2.3-fold higher for NAFL and NASH, respectively, which may result in a longer period of sedation in these disease-states. Data suggests that NAFLD and diabetes are associated with the decreased hepatic CYP3A4 activity. Thus, further evaluation of clinical consequences of these findings on the efficacy and safety of CYP3A4 substrates is warranted.