Progesterone metabolism by human and rat hepatic and intestinal tissue

Zoe Coombes, Katie Plant, Cristina Freire, Abdul W. Basit, Philip Butler, R. Steven Conlan, Deyarina Gonzalez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Following oral administration, the bioavailability of progesterone is low and highly variable. As a result, no clinically relevant, natural progesterone oral formulation is available. After oral delivery, first-pass metabolism initially occurs in the intestines; however, very little information on progesterone metabolism in this organ currently exists. The aim of this study is to investigate the contributions of liver and intestine to progesterone clearance. In the presence of NADPH, a rapid clearance of progesterone was observed in human and rat liver samples (t1/2 2.7 and 2.72 min, respectively). The rate of progesterone depletion in intestine was statistically similar between rat and human (t1/2 197.6 min in rat and 157.2 min in human). However, in the absence of NADPH, progesterone was depleted at a significantly lower rate in rat intestine compared to human. The roles of aldo keto reductases (AKR), xanthine oxidase (XAO) and aldehyde oxidase (AOX) in progesterone metabolism were also investigated. The rate of progesterone depletion was found to be significantly reduced by AKR1C, 1D1 and 1B1 in human liver and by AKR1B1 in human intestine. The inhibition of AOX also caused a significant reduction in progesterone degradation in human liver, whereas no change was observed in the presence of an XAO inhibitor. Understanding the kinetics of intestinal as well as liver metabolism is important for the future development of progesterone oral formulations. This novel information can inform decisions on the development of targeted formulations and help predict dosage regimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1707
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 16 2021


  • AKR
  • AOX
  • Aldehyde oxidase
  • Aldo keto reductase
  • Intestinal metabolism
  • Liver metabolism
  • Progesterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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