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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1988 Aug;44(2):145-51.

Maturation of caffeine metabolic pathways in infancy.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Hôpital Saint-Vincent de Paul, Paris, France.


The maturation of the different pathways of caffeine metabolism was studied during infancy. The group of children (n = 14) consisted of four premature newborn infants and 10 older infants who received caffeine citrate solution. Caffeine and 11 of its metabolites were measured by HPLC. Total demethylation and N3- and N7-demethylation increase exponentially with postnatal age; the plateau is reached by 120 days and accounts for 58.6%, 90.5%, and 79.3%, respectively. N1-demethylation shows no variation with postnatal age. It is suggested that N3-demethylation is more important in young infants than in adults and that maturation of N1-demethylation occurs later than 19 months of age. 8-Hydroxylation is mature as early as 1 month of age and may be higher in infants than in adults. Acetylation is not mature before at least 1 year of age. Differences in maturation rate of acetylation may be related in part to genetic acetylator status.

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