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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interactions between oleic acid and drug competitors influence specific binding of thyroxine in serum.

Long chain nonesterified fatty acids and various drugs may share albumin-binding sites in common. We questioned whether serum binding of T4 could be indirectly influenced by displacement of drug competitors from these sites by nonesterified fatty acids. The influence of oleic acid on drug-induced inhibition of [125I]T4 binding was measured by equilibrium dialysis, using undiluted serum in order to avoid dilution-related artefacts. Oleic acid (1 mmol/L) alone did not inhibit serum protein binding of T4, but this concentration augmented the inhibitory effects on T4 binding of diflunisal, mefenamic acid, meclofenamic acid, and aspirin. This effect increased with increasing concentrations of mefenamic acid, meclofenamic acid, and furosemide. The T4-displacing effect of fenclofenac was not augmented by oleic acid. The mechanism of these interactions was studied by examining 1) oleic acid effects on drug binding, and 2) drug effects on oleic acid binding in undiluted serum. Increments in added oleic acid (0.5-2.0 mmol/L) progressively increased the mean unbound fractions of [14C]aspirin, [14C] diflunisal, and [14C]furosemide, but did not displace [14C]fenclofenac. At the relevant total and free drug concentrations, the inhibitory effect of oleic acid on drug binding and its influence on drug-induced displacement of T4 were concordant in the order: meclofenamic acid greater than aspirin greater than mefenamic acid greater than diflunisal greater than furosemide greater than fenclofenac. In contrast, drug-induced increases in the unbound fraction of [14C]oleic acid did not correlate with augmentation of T4 displacement. We conclude that synergistic effects of oleic acid and drugs on T4 binding result from drug displacement by oleic acid, rather than the reverse effect. Hence, substances that increase the unbound concentration of a competitor by displacing it from albumin can increase its T4-displacing potency. Interactions between various ligands may exert a greater hormone-displacing effect than the sum of each alone.[1]


  1. Interactions between oleic acid and drug competitors influence specific binding of thyroxine in serum. Lim, C.F., Curtis, A.J., Barlow, J.W., Topliss, D.J., Stockigt, J.R. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (1991) [Pubmed]
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