Genetic epidemiology of induced CYP3A4 activity

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AimThe cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) enzyme is implicated in the metabolism of more than 50% of all prescribed medications and its activity – including induced or inhibited activity – is deemed to be a crucial determinant of interindividual variability in drug disposition, poor therapeutic efficacy, and adverse response to medication.MethodsWe used the classical twin model in conjunction with an induction experiment to uncover the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors to interindividual variation in induced CYP3A4 activity. A total of 367 healthy twins participated in the study. Each volunteer was administered a potent inducer of CYP3A4 (St John’s Wort) for 14 days and the activity of CYP3A4 was quantified through the metabolism of the exogenously administered probe drug quinine sulfate.ResultsBaseline and induced CYP3A4 activity were highly variable with a seven-fold and 11-fold difference among our population, respectively. Alcohol consumption, BMI, and smoking were significantly associated with induced CYP3A4 activity, collectively explaining 20% of the variation (P<1×10−4). The narrow-sense heritability of induced CYP3A4 activity was estimated at 66%, whereas the remainder of the variation was attributed to unique environmental factors.ConclusionTo our knowledge, this is the first genetic epidemiological study of induced CYP3A4 activity. Our results motivate further research to identify common and rarer genetic variants that underpin the heritable component of variation in induced CYP3A4 activity.

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