2009 年 129 巻 4 号 p. 413-425
After being distributed in the circulating blood, drugs bind to serum proteins varying degrees. In general, such binding is reversible, and a dynamic equilibrium exists between the bound and unbound molecular species. It is believed that unless there is a specific transport system (e.g. receptor-mediated endocytosis, protein-mediated transport), only unbound drugs are able to penetrate through biomembranes, are distributed to tissues, and undergo metabolism and glomerular filtration. It is also believed that only unbound molecules present in target tissues can exert their pharmacological effects, and that the concentration of unbound molecules in tissues is in proportion to the drug serum concentration. Therefore, drug-serum protein binding is critically involved in the manifestation of the pharmacological effects of a drug as well as its pharmacokinetics. Among serum proteins, human serum albumin (HSA) and α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) play important roles in protein binding for many drugs, which is of key importance to drug distribution in the body. In addition, they are widely used in clinical settings as blood preparations and drug delivery system carriers. It is thus of great importance from the viewpoint of pharmaceutical science to clarify the structure, function, and pharmaceutical properties of HSA and AGP. Accordingly, since starting my laboratory, the focus of my research has involved molecular pharmaceutical studies on the interactions of drugs and HSA and AGP for the purpose of applying these findings to clinical fields, such as drug treatment, diagnosis and drug discovery. In this review, the molecular properties of HSA and AGP will be briefly outlined. The static and dynamic topology of drug binding sites on these proteins, investigated by various spectroscopic techniques, X-ray crystallography, quantitative structure-activity relationships, molecular modeling, photo affinity labeling, site-directed mutagenesis etc., changes in the serum protein binding of drugs in pathological conditions, such as liver and kidney failure and various inflammation diseases and factors contributing to the changes will then be summarized. Finally, cases in which protein binding displacement can be applied to medical fields will also be introduced.