• 2-hydroxymelatonin;
  • 6-hydroxymelatonin;
  • cytochrome P450;
  • melatonin;
  • N1-acetyl-N 2-formyl-5-methoxy-kynuramine;
  • N-acetylserotonin

Abstract:  In the present study we provide direct evidence for the involvement of rat microsomal cytochrome P450s in melatonin O-demethylation and hydroxylation at two different positions: 2 and 6, as well as generation of N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxy-kynuramine (AFMK) and two unknown products. Moreover, we found that mitochondrial cytochrome P450s also converts melatonin into AFMK, N-acetylserotonin, 2-hydroxymelatonin, 6-hydroxymelatonin and the same two unknown products. Eadie–Hofstee plots for 6-hydroxylation and O-demethylation reactions were curvilinear for all tested fractions, suggestive of involvement of at least two components, one with a high affinity and low capacity, and another with a low affinity and high capacity. Mitochondrial cytochrome P450s exhibited higher affinity (suggesting lower Km value) and higher Vmax for melatonin 6-hydroxylation and O-demethylation for both high-affinity and low-affinity components as compared with microsomal enzymes. The intrinsic clearance for melatonin hydroxylation by high- and low-affinity components displayed the highest values in all tested fractions, indicating that both mitochondrial and microsomal cytochrome P450s metabolize melatonin principally by 6-hydroxylation, with O-demethylation representing a minor metabolic pathway.