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J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2009;12(5-6):473-507. doi: 10.1080/10937400903158409.

Genetic polymorphism in paraoxonase 1 (PON1): Population distribution of PON1 activity.

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Connecticut Department of Public Health, Hartford, 06134, USA.


Paraoxonase-1 (PON1) is a serum esterase that hydrolyzes the activated oxon form of several organophosphates. The central role of PON1 in detoxification of organophosphate (OP) pesticides was demonstrated in knockout mouse studies, suggesting that human variability in PON1 needs to be considered in health risk assessments involving exposure to these pesticides. The current analysis focused on two genetic loci in which polymorphisms demonstrated to affect PON1 activity. Detailed kinetic studies and population studies found that the *192Q (wild type) allele is more active toward some substrates (such as sarin, soman, and diazoxon) and less active toward others (such as paraoxon or chlorpyrifos) relative to the variant *192R allele. Another allele that affects activity is *55M; PON1 enzyme quantity, rather than specific activity or substrate preference, is altered. The *192R variant occurs commonly with a frequency of 25-64% across the populations analyzed. The *55M allele is less common, occurring in 5-40% of individuals depending upon the ethnic group studied. These activity and allele frequency data were incorporated into Monte Carlo simulations in which the frequency of both variant alleles was simultaneously modeled in Caucasian, African American, and Japanese populations. The resulting Monte Carlo activity distributions were bimodal for the substrate paraoxon with approximately fourfold differences between low- and high-activity modal medians. Differences in activity between total population median and 1st percentile were five- to sixfold. When sarin metabolic variability was simulated, the population distributions were unimodal. However, there was an even greater degree of interindividual variability (median to 1st percentile difference >20-fold). These results show that the combined effects of two PON1 allelic variants yielded a population distribution that is associated with a considerable degree of interindividual variability in enzyme activity. This indicates that assessments involving PON1 substrates need to evaluate polymorphism-related variability in enzyme activity to display the distribution of internal doses and adverse responses. This may best be achieved via physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models that input PON1 activity distributions, such as those generated in this analysis, to simulate the range of oxon internal doses possible across the population.

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