TSU-16, (Z)-3-[(2,4-dimethylpyrrol-5-yl)methylidenyl]-2-indolinone, is a potent activator of aryl hydrocarbon receptor and increases CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 expression in human hepatocytes

Kazuaki Matsuoka-Kawano, Kouichi Yoshinari, Sekio Nagayama, Yasushi Yamazoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


(Z)-3-[(2,4-dimethylpyrrol-5-yl)methylidenyl]-2-indolinone (TSU-16), is a potent anti-angiogenic agent that inhibits the tyrosine kinase of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2. In clinical trials with daily or twice weekly intravenous administration of TSU-16, its increased clearance was observed. To understand the mechanism underlying this observation, we have investigated the TSU-16-mediated regulation of cytochrome P450 expression. In human hepatocytes, TSU-16 increased mRNA levels of CYP1A1 and CYP1A2, but not CYP2B6 and CYP3A4. The extent of increase and profiles of the time-dependent changes in CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 mRNA levels after TSU-16 treatment were similar to those after treatment with 3-methylcholanthrene (3MC), a well-known activator of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). In reporter assays using a plasmid construct that contained the human CYP1A1 5′-flanking region including the region crucial for the AhR-dependent transcription of both human CYP1A1 and CYP1A2, TSU-16 treatment increased reporter activities to an extent similar to that obtained with 3MC. Treatment of HepG2 cells and human hepatocytes with AhR-targeting siRNA suppressed the increase in both mRNA levels and CYP1A activities after treatment with TSU-16 as well as after that with omeprazole or 3MC. TSU-16 also time-dependently reduced cellular AhR protein levels in HepG2 cells to a similar extent with 3MC treatment. Furthermore, we demonstrated that unlabeled TSU-16 and 3MC but not omeprazole completely inhibited the specific binding of [3H]-3MC to mouse Hepa1c1c7 cytosol, suggesting TSU-16 as an AhR ligand. In conclusion, our present results suggest that TSU-16 binds to and activates AhR to enhance the expression of both human CYP1A1 and CYP1A2. Because TSU-16 is metabolized mainly by CYP1A2, its increased clearance after repeated dosing may be attributed to the enhanced expression of hepatic CYP1A2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr
Externally publishedYes


  • Aryl hydrocarbon receptor
  • CYP induction
  • Ligand binding assay
  • SiRNA
  • TSU-16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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