ITPA Activity in Adults and Children Treated With or Without Azathioprine: Relationship Between TPMT Activity, Thiopurine Metabolites, and Co-medications

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Abstract

Background:

The implication of inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA) on thiopurine drug response variability has been investigated but little data are available on its role on thiopurine metabolites. The ability of ITPA to modify the thiopurine metabolite levels is currently used to optimize azathioprine (AZA) therapy in relation to thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT) activity, the aim of this study is to investigate ITPA phenotype in a large population and to evaluate the relation between ITPA and TPMT activities and thiopurine metabolites.

Methods:

ITPA activity was determined in 183 adults and 138 children with or without AZA therapy. 6-thioguanine nucleotides (6-TGN), 6-methylmercaptopurine nucleotides (6-MeMPN) levels, and ITPA as well as TPMT activities were measured in red blood cells. Using the Gaussian mixture model, distribution of ITPA activity was evaluated. Intraindividual variability and influence of age, sex, AZA treatment and associated co-medications on ITPA activity were also assessed.

Results:

This retrospective study shows a quadrimodal distribution in ITPA activity. No influence of age, sex, AZA therapy, and co-medications was found. In adults, ITPA activity was not significantly associated with 6-TGN or 6-MeMPN concentrations, whereas a weak negative correlation was observed with 6-MeMPN levels in pediatric populations (rs = −0.261; P = 0.024). A weak positive correlation was observed between ITPA and TPMT activities in children (rs = 0.289; P = 0.001).

Conclusions:

ITPA activity was poorly influenced by nongenetic parameters and has no influence on 6-TGN and 6-MeMPN concentrations in adults and only a weak correlation with 6-MeMPN and TPMT activity in children. These results demonstrate that ITPA is not a rate-limiting enzyme in the formation of 6-TGN but suggest that a decrease in ITPA activity in children may be a risk factor for accumulation of 6-MeMPN in cells.

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