Prediction of oxidative drug metabolism at the early stages of drug discovery and development requires fast and accurate analytical techniques to mimic the in vivo oxidation reactions by cytochrome P450s (CYP). Direct electrochemical oxidation combined with mass spectrometry, although limited to the oxidation reactions initiated by charge transfer, has shown promise in the mimicry of certain CYP-mediated metabolic reactions. The electrochemical approach may further be utilized in an automated manner in microfluidics devices facilitating fast screening of oxidative drug metabolism. A wide range of in vivo oxidation reactions, particularly those initiated by hydrogen atom transfer, can be imitated through the electrochemically-assisted Fenton reaction. This reaction is based on O-O bond activation in hydrogen peroxide and oxidation by hydroxyl radicals, wherein electrochemistry is used for the reduction of molecular oxygen to hydrogen peroxide, as well as the reduction of Fe3+ to Fe2+. Metalloporphyrins, as surrogates for the prosthetic group in CYP, utilizing metallo-oxo reactive species, can also be used in combination with electrochemistry. Electrochemical reduction of metalloporphyrins in solution or immobilized on the electrode surface activates molecular oxygen in a manner analogous to the catalytical cycle of CYP and different metalloporphyrins can mimic selective oxidation reactions. Chemoselective, stereoselective, and regioselective oxidation reactions may be mimicked using electrodes that have been modified with immobilized enzymes, especially CYP itself. This review summarizes the recent attempts in utilizing electrochemistry as a versatile analytical and preparative technique in the mimicry of oxidative drug metabolism by CYP.
Keywords: Cytochrome P450, Drug metabolism, Electrochemistry, Electrode modification, Mass spectrometry, Mimicry, Reactive oxygen species, metalloporphyrins, X-ray crystallography
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