In male subjects, peripheral aromatization of androgens accounts for most of the estrogen production, and skin is an important site of such enzymatic activity. We have studied the effects of a mechanism-based, irreversible aromatase inhibitor, 10-(2-propynyl)-estr-4-ene-3,17-dione (MDL 18,962) on androgen action and metabolism in cultured human foreskin fibroblasts. Cells were incubated simultaneously in the presence of substrate, androstenedione, and inhibitor, MDL 18,962. Aromatase activity was linear with time up to 3 h of incubation at 37°C in the absence and presence of 1.0-10nM inhibitor. The IC50 for four different cell strains ranged from 4.0 to 8.6 nM MDL 18,962. Kinetic analysis of competitive inhibition by the Eadie-Hofstee method yielded an apparent Ki of 2.75 nM for the inhibitor. Preincubation of cells with MDL 18,962 resulted in irreversible inhibition of aromatase activity which was time- and concentration-dependent. We calculated a Ki of 7.6 nM for MDL 18,962. Preincubation of cells with 25 nM MDL 18,962 suppressed enzyme activity for up to 6 h following removal of the inhibitor, before a return of enzyme activity due to synthesis of new enzyme. MDL 18,962 (0.2-20μM) did not influence the 5α -reduction of testosterone (200 nM). In addition, binding of dihydrotestosterone (2nM) to androgen receptors was not affected by MDL 18,962 (25-1000 nM). In summary, MDL 18,962 is a specific, high potency inhibitor of aromatase. By virtue of its high binding affinity to the enzyme active site, it competes very effectively with substrate, resulting in irreversible inactivation of aromatase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas