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Drug Metab Dispos. 2000 Apr;28(4):379-82.

Human cytochrome P450 maximal activities in pediatric versus adult liver.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


Drug clearance is often higher in children than in adults, particularly when normalized to body weight. We previously showed that liver volume normalized to body weight was inversely related to age, but that the systemic clearance of a nonspecific cytochrome P450 (CYP) substrate (antipyrine) was higher in young children compared with adults even when normalized per liver volume. Our purpose herein was to evaluate whether P450 catalytic activities, expressed as maximal catalytic rates per milligram of microsomal protein, differed in up to 37 normal livers from subjects <10 (range 0.5-9 years of age), >10 but <60 years of age (range 10-59 years), and >60 year (range 63-93 years of age). There were no age-related differences in the oxidation of ethoxyresorufin (P =.83) (CYP1A2), ethoxycoumarin (P =.52) (CYP2E1 and other P450s), teniposide (P =. 58), midazolam (P =.47) (CYP3A4/3A5), or paclitaxel (P =.24) (at the 17alpha position, CYP2C8). Tolbutamide hydroxylation tended to be lower in children versus adults (P =.047) (CYP2C9), but did not reach statistical significance after correcting for multiple comparisons. No relationship was found to exist between age and microsomal recovery (P =.98); thus, recovery did not account for the lack of age-related differences in catalytic activity. We conclude that increased intrinsic cytochrome P450 activity is unlikely to account for increased clearance of most P450 drug substrates in children.

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