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Small intestinal mucosal injury is a frequent adverse effect caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The underlying mechanisms are not completely understood, but topical (luminal) effects have been implicated. Many carboxylic acid-containing NSAIDs, including diclofenac (DCF), are metabolized to acyl glucuronides (AGs), and/or ether glucuronides after ring hydroxylation, and exported into the biliary tree. In the gut, these conjugates are cleaved by bacterial β-glucuronidase, releasing the potentially harmful aglycone. We first confirmed that DCF-AG was an excellent substrate for purified Escherichia coli β-D-glucuronidase. Using a previously characterized novel bacteria-specific β-glucuronidase inhibitor (Inhibitor-1), we then found that the enzymatic hydrolysis of DCF-AG in vitro was inhibited concentration dependently (IC₅₀ ∼164 nM). We next hypothesized that pharmacologic inhibition of bacterial β-glucuronidase would reduce exposure of enterocytes to the aglycone and, as a result, alleviate enteropathy. C57BL/6J mice were administered an ulcerogenic dose of DCF (60 mg/kg i.p.) with or without oral pretreatment with Inhibitor-1 (10 μg per mouse, b.i.d.). Whereas DCF alone caused the formation of numerous large ulcers in the distal parts of the small intestine and increased (2-fold) the intestinal permeability to fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran, Inhibitor-1 cotreatment significantly alleviated mucosal injury and reduced all parameters of enteropathy. Pharmacokinetic profiling of DCF plasma levels in mice revealed that Inhibitor-1 coadministration did not significantly alter the C(max), half-life, or area under the plasma concentration versus time curve of DCF. Thus, highly selective pharmacologic targeting of luminal bacterial β-D-glucuronidase by a novel class of small-molecule inhibitors protects against DCF-induced enteropathy without altering systemic drug exposure.


Amanda LoGuidice, Bret D Wallace, Lauren Bendel, Matthew R Redinbo, Urs A Boelsterli. Pharmacologic targeting of bacterial β-glucuronidase alleviates nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug-induced enteropathy in mice. The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics. 2012 May;341(2):447-54

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PMID: 22328575

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