CYP3A7 is a member of the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A enzyme sub-family that is expressed in the fetus and neonate. In addition to its role metabolizing retinoic acid and the endogenous steroid dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), it also has a critical function in drug metabolism and disposition during the first few weeks of life. Despite this, it is generally ignored in the preclinical testing of new drug candidates. This increases the risk for drug-drug interactions (DDI) and toxicities occurring in the neonate. Therefore, screening drug candidates for CYP3A7 inhibition is essential to identify chemical entities with potential toxicity risks for neonates. Currently, there is no efficient high-throughput screening (HTS) assay to assess CYP3A7 inhibition. Here, we report our testing of various fluorescent probes to assess CYP3A7 activity in a high-throughput manner. We determined that the fluorescent compound dibenzylfluorescein (DBF) is superior to other compounds in meeting the criteria considered for an efficient HTS assay. Furthermore, a preliminary screen of an HIV/HCV antiviral drug mini-library demonstrated the utility of DBF in a HTS assay system. We anticipate that this tool will be of great benefit in screening drugs that may be used in the neonatal population in the future.
Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 30;11(1):19443. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-98219-x.