Effects of functional CYP2C8,CYP2C9,CYP3A5,and ABCB1 genetic variants on the pharmacokinetics of insulin sensitizer pioglitazone in Chinese Han individuals

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Background and objectives

Pioglitazone is a thiazolidinedione antihyperglycemic drug with insulin-sensitizing properties. We investigated whether the variant genotypes of cytochrome P450 2C8 (CYP2C8), CYP2C9, CYP3A5 and transporter ABCB1 influence the pharmacokinetic phenotype of the substrate pioglitazone in Chinese individuals.

Participants and methods

Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were determined by the PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism method in 244 (CYP2C8 and CYP2C9) healthy Chinese Han individuals. After a single oral dose of 30 mg pioglitazone, the plasma concentrations of the parent drug and of two major active metabolites M-III and M-IV were measured using a validated LC-MS/MS in 21 (genotyping CYP3A5 and ABCB1) of these 244 volunteers.


The results confirmed that the unique frequencies of CYP2C8*2 (0.0%), CYP2C8*3 (0.0%), and CYP2C9*2 (0.0%) alleles were significantly different from those reported in Whites and Africans, and there were only 10 variant CYP2C9*1/*3 heterozygous (CYP2C9*3 carriers) among 244 Chinese individuals. These results were similar to those reported in Asian ethnic populations, including the Chinese. Unexpectedly, the pioglitazone AUC0–48 in CYP2C9*3 carriers was lower (50.8%), whereas the AUC0–48 ratios of metabolites M-III/pioglitazone and M-IV/pioglitazone increased to 134.3 and 155.8%, respectively, compared with the wild-type CYP2C9*1/*1 homozygous. Moreover, this phenomenon was not observed in individuals with genetic variants of CYP3A5*3 and ABCB1 (C1236T).


The present research suggests that the CYP2C8, CYP3A5, and ABCB1 genes play no significant role in the interindividual variation of pioglitazone pharmacokinetics, whereas CYP2C9*3 carriers are likely to accelerate the metabolism of this antidiabetic drug in the Chinese Han ethnic population.

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