Excretion, Metabolism and Cytochrome P450 Inhibition of Methyl 3,4-Dihydroxybenzoate (MDHB): A Potential Candidate to Treat Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Jia Hui Wang
  • Ke Qi Chen
  • Jun Xing Jiang
  • Huan Yong Li
  • Jun Ping Pan
  • Ji Yan Su
  • Lin Wang
  • Yang Hu
  • Xiang Nan Mi
  • Yi Rong Xin
  • Qin Gao
  • Xiang Long Zhao
  • Fei XiaoEmail author
  • Huan Min LuoEmail author
Original Research Article


Background and Objectives

Methyl 3,4-dihydroxybenzoate (MDHB) has the potential to prevent neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs). The present work investigated its excretion, metabolism, and cytochrome P450-based drug–drug interactions (DDIs).


After intragastric administration of MDHB, the parent drug was assayed in the urine and faeces of mice. Metabolites of MDHB in the urine, faeces, brain, plasma and liver were detected by liquid chromatography–hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC–QTOF/MS). A cocktail approach was used to evaluate the inhibition of cytochrome P450 isoforms by MDHB.


The cumulative excretion permille of MDHB in the urine and faeces were found to be 0.67 ± 0.31 and 0.49 ± 0.44‰, respectively. A total of 96 metabolites of MDHB were identified, and all IC50 (half-maximal inhibitory concentration) values of MDHB towards cytochrome P450 isoforms were > 100 μM.


The results suggest that MDHB has a low parent drug cumulative excretion percentage and that MDHB has multiple metabolites and is mainly metabolized through the loss of –CH2 and –CO2, the loss of –CH2O, ester bond hydrolysis, the loss of –O and –CO2, isomerization, methylation, sulfate conjugation, the loss of –CH2O and –O and glycine conjugation, glycine conjugation, the loss of two –O groups and alanine conjugation, the loss of –CH2O and –O and glucose conjugation, glucuronidation, glucose conjugation, etc., in vivo. Finally, MDHB has a low probability of cytochrome P450-based DDIs.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical approval

The animal experiments adhered to the Jinan University Medical College Animal Use Ordinance and were approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical School of Jinan University.


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 81473296) and China’s 111 Project (no. B14036).

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

13318_2019_576_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17925 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, College of Basic MedicineJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South ChinaSun Yat-sen University Cancer CenterGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Analytical and Testing CenterJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Applied Microbiology Southern ChinaGuangdong Institute of MicrobiologyGuangzhouChina
  5. 5.SCIEX (China) Co., Ltd.GuangzhouChina
  6. 6.Institute of Brain SciencesJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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