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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1989 Aug;46(2):198-207.

Metoprolol and mephenytoin oxidation polymorphisms in Far Eastern Oriental subjects: Japanese versus mainland Chinese.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacology, National Medical Center, Tokyo, Japan.


We examined genetically determined oxidation polymorphisms of metoprolol and mephenytoin in 200 unrelated, healthy Japanese subjects and in 98 mainland Chinese subjects simultaneously. This examination was done according to the respective reported phenotyping criteria by use of the urinary metabolic ratio of metoprolol and of the percentage of excretion of 4-hydroxymephenytoin 8 hours after dose administration. The frequencies of occurrence of poor metabolizers (PMs) in the Japanese versus the Chinese subjects were 0.5% versus 0% for metoprolol and 22.5% versus 17.4% for mephenytoin, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences in these frequencies between the two Oriental populations. However, Chinese extensive metabolizers (EMs) showed a significantly lower excretion of alpha-hydroxymetoprolol (p less than 0.01) and 4-hydroxymephenytoin (p less than 0.001) than that of Japanese EMs, and the mode of the distribution histogram of the Chinese EMs for the two test probes was skewed compared with that of the Japanese EMs. The findings indicate that the two Far Eastern Oriental subject groups have a lower frequency of PM phenotype of debrisoquin/sparteine-type oxidation and a greater incidence of PM phenotype of mephenytoin oxidation compared with the respective frequencies reported from white subjects. However, the explanation for the observation that the metabolic capacities of the test drugs differed between the EMs of the two populations who had a similar ethnic origin and who resided in the same geographic area remains obscure.

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