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Differences in the Glucuronidation of Resveratrol and Pterostilbene: Altered Enzyme Specificity and Potential Gender Differences


Resveratrol, a natural polyphenol found in grapes, berries and other plants, has been proposed as an ideal chemopreventative agent due to its plethora of health promoting activities. However, despite its lofty promise as a cancer prevention agent its success in human clinical trials has been limited due to its poor bioavailability. Thus, interest in other natural polyphenols is intensifying including the naturally occurring dimethylated analog of resveratrol, pterostilbene. The UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) family of enzymes plays a vital role in the metabolism of both resveratrol and pterostilbene. The current study sought to elucidate the UGT family members responsible for the metabolism of pterostilbene and to examine gender differences in the glucuronidation of resveratrol and pterostilbene. We demonstrate that UGT1A1 and UGT1A3 are mainly responsible for pterostilbene glucuronidation although UGT1A8, UGT1A9 and UGT1A10 also had detectable activity. Intriguingly, UGT1A1 exhibits the highest activity against both resveratrol and pterostilbene despite altered hydroxyl group specificity. Using pooled human liver microsomes, enzyme kinetics were determined for pterostilbene and resveratrol glucuronides. In all cases females were more efficient than males, indicating potential gender differences in stilbene metabolism. Importantly, the glucuronidation of pterostilbene is much less efficient than that of resveratrol, indicating that pterostilbene will have dramatically decreased metabolism in humans. Copyright © 2014 by the Japanese Society for the Study of Xenobiotics (JSSX).

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