SARS-CoV-2 infection dysregulates the expression of clinically relevant drug metabolizing enzymes in Vero E6 cells and membrane transporters in human lung tissues
SARS-CoV-2-mediated interactions with drug metabolizing enzymes and membrane transporters (DMETs) in different tissues, especially lung, the main affected organ may limit the clinical efficacy and safety profile of promising COVID-19 drugs. Herein, we investigated whether SARS-CoV-2 infection could dysregulate the expression of 25 clinically relevant DMETs in Vero E6 cells and postmortem lung tissues from COVID-19 patients. Also, we assessed the role of 2 inflammatory and 4 regulatory proteins in modulating the dysregulation of DMETs in human lung tissues. We showed for the first time that SARS-CoV-2 infection dysregulates CYP3A4 and UGT1A1 at the mRNA level, as well as P-gp and MRP1 at the protein level, in Vero E6 cells and postmortem human lung tissues, respectively. We observed that at the cellular level, DMETs could potentially be dysregulated by SARS-CoV-2-associated inflammatory response and lung injury. We uncovered the pulmonary cellular localization of CYP1A2, CYP2C8, CYP2C9, and CYP2D6, as well as ENT1 and ENT2 in human lung tissues, and observed that the presence of inflammatory cells is the major driving force for the discrepancy in the localization of DMETs between COVID-19 and control human lung tissues. Because alveolar epithelial cells and lymphocytes are both sites of SARS-CoV-2 infection and localization of DMETs, we recommend further investigation of the pulmonary pharmacokinetic profile of current COVID-19 drug dosing regimen to improve clinical outcomes.