Inhibition of Rat CYP1A2 and CYP2C11 by Honokiol, a Component of Traditional Chinese Medicine

  • Jing Li
  • Ming-rui Li
  • Bao Sun
  • Cheng-ming Liu
  • Jing Ren
  • Wen-qian Zhi
  • Pei-yu Zhang
  • Hai-ling Qiao
  • Na GaoEmail author
Original Research Article


Background and Objectives

Honokiol, a major constituent isolated from Magnolia officinalis, is regarded as a phytochemical marker and bioactive substance present in many traditional Chinese medicines. However, the effect of honokiol on cytochrome P450 (CYP) has not been thoroughly investigated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of honokiol on CYP1A2 and CYP2C11 in vitro and in vivo.


The effect of honokiol on CYP1A2 and CYP2C11 was investigated with rat liver microsomes (RLMs) by measuring phenacetin and tolbutamide metabolism (probe drugs for CYP1A2 and CYP2C11, respectively), and then explored in vivo by measuring the effect of honokiol (2.5 and 5 mg/kg, intravenous injection) on the pharmacokinetics of theophylline and tolbutamide (probe drugs for CYP1A2 and CYP2C11, respectively) in rats in vivo.


Honokiol inhibited the formation of acetaminophen from phenacetin and 4-hydroxytolbutamide from tolbutamide in RLMs, with inhibition constant (Ki) values of 1.6 μM and 16.5 μM, respectively. In vivo, honokiol (2.5 or 5.0 mg/kg) increased the half-life (t1/2) of theophylline by 40.9% and 119.9%, decreased the clearance (CL) by 23.8% and 42.9%, and increased the area under the curve (AUC) by 41.3% and 83.4%, respectively. Similarly, the t1/2 of tolbutamide increased by 25.5% and 33.8%, the CL decreased by 14.3% and 19.1%, and the AUC increased by 19.2% and 25.7%, respectively.


The inhibition of CYP1A2 by honokiol is greater than the inhibition of CYP2C11. The changes in the pharmacokinetics of theophylline and tolbutamide in rats treated with honokiol are due to the inhibition of CYP1A2 and CYP2C11 activity in a dose-dependent manner.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by Foundation for University Key Teacher by Henan province and Henan province Key Program of Science and Technology (Grant 162102310519). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Ethical approval

The study was carried out in accordance with the National Institute of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, and the animal protocol was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of Zhengzhou University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Li
    • 1
  • Ming-rui Li
    • 1
  • Bao Sun
    • 1
  • Cheng-ming Liu
    • 1
  • Jing Ren
    • 1
  • Wen-qian Zhi
    • 1
  • Pei-yu Zhang
    • 1
  • Hai-ling Qiao
    • 1
  • Na Gao
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, School of MedicineZhengzhou UniversityZhengzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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