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    Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) methylates both endogenous and exogenous catechol compounds to inactive and safe metabolites. We first optimised conditions for a convenient and sensitive continuous fluorescence-based 6-O-methylation assay of esculetin, which we used for investigating the COMT activity in human, mouse, rat, dog, rabbit, and sheep liver cytosols and microsomes and in ten different rat tissues. Furthermore, we compared the inhibition potencies and mechanisms of two clinically used COMT inhibitors, entacapone and tolcapone, in these species. In most tissues, the COMT activity was at least three times higher in cytosol than in microsomes. In the rat, the highest COMT activity was found in the liver, followed by kidney, ileum, thymus, spleen, lung, pancreas, heart, brain, and finally, skeletal muscle. Entacapone and tolcapone were characterised as highly potent mixed type tight-binding inhibitors. The competitive inhibition type dominated over the uncompetitive inhibition with entacapone, whereas uncompetitive inhibition dominated with tolcapone. Rats, dogs, pigs, and sheep are high COMT activity species, in contrast to humans, mice, and rabbits; COMT activity is highest in the liver. Both entacapone and tolcapone are potent COMT inhibitors, but their inhibition mechanisms differ.


    Aaro Jalkanen, Veera Lassheikki, Tommi Torsti, Elham Gharib, Marko Lehtonen, Risto O Juvonen. Tissue and interspecies comparison of catechol-O-methyltransferase mediated catalysis of 6-O-methylation of esculetin to scopoletin and its inhibition by entacapone and tolcapone. Xenobiotica; the fate of foreign compounds in biological systems. 2021 Mar;51(3):268-278

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    PMID: 33289420

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