Acetazolamide (ACZ) is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor prescribed for the treatment of various pathologies. It is also used in doping and is prohibited in and out of sportive competitions. ACZ was reported not to undergo metabolization. However, the detection of ACZ metabolites may be critical for documenting ACZ use. We aimed to further investigate ACZ metabolic fate in humans. ACZ putative metabolites were generated in silico to assist in metabolite identification. ACZ was incubated with primary human hepatocytes to identify in vitro metabolites (10 µmol/l ACZ and 106 cells/ml), and urine and plasma samples from patients receiving a single 5.0 mg/kg BW PO ACZ dose were analyzed to confirm the results in vivo. Analyses were performed with reversed-phase liquid chromatography and hydrophilic interaction chromatography coupled with high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry (RPLC-HRMS/MS and HILIC-HRMS/MS, respectively). Data were screened with a software-assisted targeted/untargeted workflow. ACZ was quantified in urine samples with creatinine normalization. We identified two metabolites in hepatocyte incubations and three additional metabolites in urine and plasma. Major transformations included cysteine conjugation, glucuronidation, and N-acetylation. All metabolites were detected in plasma, 1.5 h after intake. Major metabolites were detected in urine from 0.25 to 24 h (last collection) after intake. As opposed to the literature, ACZ does undergo metabolization in humans. We propose ACZ, ACZ-Cys, and N-acetyl-ACZ in urine, and ACZ and N-acetyl-ACZ in plasma as specific biomarkers of ACZ intake in doping.
In silico, in vitro, and in vivo human metabolism of acetazolamide, a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor and common “diuretic and masking agent” in doping / Busardo, F. P.; Lo Faro, A. F.; Sirignano, A.; Giorgetti, R.; Carlier, J.. - In: ARCHIVES OF TOXICOLOGY. - ISSN 0340-5761. - (2022). [10.1007/s00204-022-03289-z]