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Binding of the drugs naproxen (which is an anti-inflammatory) and amitriptyline (which is an anti-depressant) to bovine serum albumin (BSA) has been studied using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), in combination with fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopies. Naproxen is observed to bind more strongly to BSA than amitriptyline. The temperature-dependent ITC results indicate the interaction of one molecule of naproxen with more than one protein molecule. On the other hand, amitriptyline binds to BSA with a reaction stoichiometry that varies from 1:1.2 to 1:2.9. The van't Hoff enthalpy, which is calculated from the temperature dependence of the binding constant, agrees well with the calorimetric enthalpy in the case of naproxen binding to BSA, indicating adherence to a two-state binding process. However, their disagreement in the case of amitriptyline indicates conformational changes in the protein upon ligand binding, as well as with the rise in temperature. The spectroscopic results did not suggest appreciable conformational changes as a result of binding; hence, the discrepancy could be attributed to the temperature-induced conformational changes. With increases in the ionic strength, a reduction in the binding affinity of naproxen to BSA is observed. This suggests the prevailing electrostatic interactions in the complexation process. The preponderance of the hydrophobic interactions in the binding of amitriptyline to BSA is indicated by the absence of any dependence of the ionic strength. A predominance of electrostatic interactions in the case of naproxen binding to BSA and that of hydrophobic interactions in the case of amitriptyline binding to BSA is further strengthened by the results of the binding experiments performed in the presence of ionic and nonionic surfactants. The binding parameters indicate that Triton X-100 blocks the hydrophobic binding sites on BSA, thereby altering the binding affinity of amitriptyline toward BSA. A partial overlap of the binding sites for these drugs is indicated by the binding parameters obtained in the titration of naproxen to the amitriptyline-BSA complex and vice versa. Thus, the results provide a quantitative understanding of the binding of naproxen and amitriptyline to BSA, which is important in understanding their effect as therapeutic agents individually and in combination therapy.


Tuhina Banerjee, Sreelekha K Singh, Nand Kishore. Binding of naproxen and amitriptyline to bovine serum albumin: biophysical aspects. The journal of physical chemistry. B. 2006 Nov 30;110(47):24147-56

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PMID: 17125386

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