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Original Article

ECB. 2022; 11(9): 11-15


Sumathi D/O Govindasamya, Nurdiana Jamil, Wan Rosalina Wan Rosli.


Introduction: CYP3A4 enzyme metabolises more than half of all marketed medicine and is regarded as a major enzyme
as it is involved in majority of phase I metabolism. Apart from that CYP3A4 has also been implicated in food-drug interactions
such as grapefruit-CYP3A4 and St John’s wort-CYP3A4. Traditional vegetables termed “ulam” is widely consumed in Malaysia,
either in raw form or cooked. This is especially due to the people’s increasing awareness of healthy lifestyle which makes vegetable
consumption a big part of their diet. Therefore, knowledge regarding inhibitory potentialof ulam constotuents toward the CYP3A4
is important so that informed choices could be made in order to manage the risk of food-drug interactions. Therefore, this study
wants to investigate the potential of CYP3A4 inhibition by active constituents of ulam to determine the existence of ulam-drug
interaction. Methods: Four types of ulam was investigated that include Melicope ptelefolia (“tenggek burung”), Cosmos caudatus
(“ulam raja”), Oenanthe javanica (“selom”) and Centella asiatica (“pegaga”). The plant’s active constituents were extracted using
methanol and then its inhibition activity was determined using luminescence assay with ketoconazole as controls. Results: The
enzyme CYP3A4 was found to be inhibited by ulam extracts and Centella asiatica (pegaga) was found to have the highest inhibition
(IC50 value 23.99 µg mL-1). Then Melicope ptelefolia (IC50 value 34.67 µg mL-1), Cosmos caudatus (IC50 value 52.48 µg mL1), and Oenanthe javanica (IC50 value 107.15µg mL-1). Conclusion: Ulam was found to have CYP3A4 inhibitory properties,
especially Centella asiatica, Melicope ptelefolia and Cosmos caudatus. Therefore consumption of ulam may have potential for
food-drug interactions and caution may be exercised when consuming ulam together with CYP3A4-metabolised drugs.
What this paper adds: Ulam is a popular traditional food. This paper investigates the food-drug interaction that may be affect the
outcome of CYP 3A4-metabolised drugs and found possible interaction in case the ulam is consumed excessively and taken together
with the CYP 3A4-metabolised drugs.

Key words: traditional vegetable, ulam, CYP 3A4, enzyme inhibition, food-drug interaction

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