Effect of 95% Ethanol Khat Extract and Cathinone on in vitro Human Recombinant Cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4 Activity

  • Sharoen Yu Ming Lim
  • Athira Rafhana Binti Azidin
  • Yee Tze Ung
  • Mustafa Al-Shagga
  • Mohammed Abdullah Alshawsh
  • Zahurin Mohamed
  • Chin Eng Ong
  • Yan PanEmail author
Short Communication


Background and Objective

A significant number of people worldwide consume khat on daily basis. Long term of khat chewing has shown negative impact on several organ systems. It is likely that these people are co-administered khat preparations and conventional medication, which may lead to khat-drug interactions. This study aimed to reveal the inhibitory potencies of khat ethanol extract (KEE) and its major active ingredient (cathinone) on human cytochrome P450 (CYP) 2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4 enzymes activities, which are collectively responsible for metabolizing 70–80% clinically used drugs.


In vitro fluorescence-based enzyme assays were developed and the CYP enzyme activities were quantified in the presence and absence of KEE and cathinone employing Vivid® CYP450 Screening Kits.


KEE inhibited human CYP2C9, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4 enzyme activities with IC50 of 42, 62, and 18 μg/ml. On the other hand, cathinone showed negligible inhibitory effect on these CYPs. Further experiments with KEE revealed that KEE inhibited CYP2C9 via non-competitive or mixed mode with Ki of 14.7 μg/ml, CYP2D6 through competitive or mixed mode with Ki of 17.6 μg/ml, CYP3A4 by mixed inhibition mode with Ki of 12.1 μg/ml.


Khat-drug interactions are possible due to administration of clinical drugs metabolized by CYP2C9/CYP2D6/CYP3A4 together with khat chewing. Further in vivo studies are required to confirm our findings and identify the causative constituents of these inhibitory effects.


Compliance with Ethical Stanadards


This project was supported by the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus final year project grant BMS/FYP/2017-06, BMS-PY5, and University of Malaya research Grant RG539-13HTM.

Conflict of interest

All authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharoen Yu Ming Lim
    • 1
  • Athira Rafhana Binti Azidin
    • 1
  • Yee Tze Ung
    • 1
  • Mustafa Al-Shagga
    • 1
  • Mohammed Abdullah Alshawsh
    • 3
  • Zahurin Mohamed
    • 3
  • Chin Eng Ong
    • 2
  • Yan Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical ScienceThe University of Nottingham Malaysia CampusSemenyihMalaysia
  2. 2.School of PharmacyInternational Medical UniversityKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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