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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


MULLER, W K et al. CYP3A5 polymorphisms and their effects on tacrolimus exposure in an ethnically diverse South African renal transplant population. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2020, vol.110, n.2, pp.159-166. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. Tacrolimus forms the cornerstone for immunosuppression in solid-organ transplantation. It has a narrow therapeutic window with wide inter- and intra-patient variability (IPV). Cytochrome P-450 3A5 (CYP3A5) is the main enzyme involved in tacrolimus metabolism, and rs776746A>G is the most frequently studied polymorphism in the CYP3A5 gene. The rs776746A>G (i.e. CYP3A5*3) single-nucleotide polymorphism in CYP3A5 alters tacrolimus predose trough concentration (Co) and may also affect IPV, which may lead to immune- and/or drug-mediated allograft injury. CYP3A5*3 may result in absent (*3/*3), partial (*1/*3) or normal CYP3A5 expression. The effect of CYP3A5*3 on tacrolimus exposure and variability has not been examined in South African (SA) transplant recipients.OBJECTIVES. To determine the frequencies and effect of CYP3A5 and adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette subfamily B member 1 (ABCB1) polymorphisms on tacrolimus Co/dose ratios in different ethnic groups attending a tertiary renal transplant clinic in SA, and other factors that may explain inter- and IPV in tacrolimus Co.METHODS. All consenting stable renal transplant recipients on tacrolimus at the Livingstone Hospital Renal Unit in Port Elizabeth, SA, were included. Tacrolimus concentrations were obtained using a microparticle enzyme immunoassay method (ARCHITECT analyser, Abbott Laboratories). Polymerase chain reaction/restriction fragment length polymorphism was used to genotype for CYP3A5*3 and *6 allelic variants.RESULTS. There were 43 participants (35% black African, 44% mixed ancestry and 21% white), with a mean age of 44.5 years, median duration post-transplant of 47 months and median (interquartile range) creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate levels of 118 (92 - 140) umol/L and 62 (49 - 76) mL/min at study inclusion. The mean tacrolimus Co in the study was 6.7 ng/mL, with no difference across the different ethnic groups. However, the mean total daily dose of tacrolimus required was 9.1 mg (0.12 mg/kg), 7.2 mg (0.09 mg/kg) and 4.3 mg (0.06 mg/kg) in black, mixed-ancestry and white patients, respectively (p=0.017). The frequencies for CYP3A5 expressors (i.e. CYP3A5*1/*1 + CYP3A5*1/*3 genotypes) were 72%, 100%, 76% and 12% for all patients combined and black, mixed-ancestry and white patients, respectively. The frequencies for CYP3A5 non-expressors (i.e. CYP3A5*3/*3 genotypes) were 0%, 24% and 88% among the black, mixed-ancestry and white patients, respectively. None of the patients carried the CYP3A5*6 allele. CYP3A5*1/*1 and CYP3A5*1/*3 genotype carriers required a two-fold increase in dose compared with the non-expressor genotype carriers, CYP3A5*3/*3 (p<0.05). CYP3A5*3/*3carriers also demonstrated higher IPV than CYP3A5*1/*1 and *1/*3 carriers (18.1% v. 14.2%; p=0.125).CONCLUSIONS. Compared with global transplant populations, SA renal transplant recipients demonstrated a very high rate of CYP3A5 expression, with a significant impact on tacrolimus pharmacokinetics. Genetic variation in CYP3A5 expression affects tacrolimus dosing requirements, and knowing the CYP3A5 genotype of transplant patients may allow better dose prediction compared with current standard dosing recommendations in a multi-ethnic population. Overall, black African patients required higher doses of tacrolimus than their white counterparts. While further prospective studies are needed to better evaluate dosing algorithms, it would appear that the starting dose of tacrolimus should be higher in black and mixed-race patients.

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