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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Feb;39(2):179-81.

The N-oxidation of trimethylamine in a Jordanian population.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid.


The ability to oxidise trimethylamine (TMA) to trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is distributed polymorphically within a British white population with the majority of individuals excreting greater than 90% of total urinary TMA as TMAO. The opposite extreme is characterised by a rare inborn error of TMA N-oxidation known as the fish-odour syndrome. However there is a lack of information regarding inter-individual variability in the N-oxidation of TMA in other ethnic groups. In this study the urinary excretion of TMA and TMAO was determined over a period of 24 h in 82 Jordanian subjects. A frequency distribution histogram of % of total urinary TMA excreted as TMAO revealed that the majority of subjects excreted greater than 80% of the total urinary TMA as TMAO, however eight subjects (9.7%) excreted less than 80% of the total TMA as TMAO. In a previous study of 169 white British subjects only one (0.6%) excreted less than 80% of the total TMA as TMAO. The results suggest that the prevalence of compromised ability to N-oxidise TMA may be higher in a Jordanian population than in a British population.

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