Molecules exist as three dimensional structures. Therefore they can exist in symmetrical and asymmetrical forms. Molecules with an asymmetric centre are chiral. If the molecule and its mirror image are non-superimposable, the relationship between the two molecules is enantiomeric and the two stereoisomers are enantiomers. Since enantiomers have very similar or identical physicochemical properties, it is very difficult to distinguish between them in an achiral environment. However, once in a chiral environment, as in the body, they exhibit clear differences. In fact, most of the physiological processes in nature are stereospecific. Stereospecificity can occur in pharmacokinetic processes, in particular that utilise a carrier protein, receptor or enzyme. In addition, stereoselectivity occurs in pharmacodynamic processes and the differences between enantiomers can be either qualitative and quantitative. 2-arylpropionic acid derivatives (2APAs - profens) are an important subgroup within the class of NSAIDs . These are chiral compounds marketed as racemic mixtures. Some members of the group in an species-dependent manner undergo a special type of metabolic transformation leading to partial inversion to the optical antipode through a specific conjugation with CoA (coenzyme A) and subsequent epimerization. This metabolic inversion has not only pharmacological consequences (related to clinical effect) but also toxicological consequences such as, formation of hybrid triglycerides and even inhibition of fatty acid ß-oxidation. Differences on inversion rate between compounds and species will be discussed as well as its modification by different patho-physiologic processes such as, inflammation.
Keywords: 2-Arylpropionic Acid Derivatives, NSAIDs, ESTEREOISOMERISM, ARYLPROPIONIC ACID DERIVA-TIVES, Plasma Protein Binding, Stereoselective metabolism, AcylCoA ligase, Racemase, Hydrolase
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