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Pharmacogenetics. 1997 Feb;7(1):45-50.

Studies on the discontinuous N-oxidation of trimethylamine among Jordanian, Ecuadorian and New Guinean populations.

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Imperial College, School of Medicine at St Mary's, London, UK.


Whilst the majority of individuals within a British white population are able to convert greater than 90% of their dietary-derived trimethylamine to its N-oxide, outliers exist who show varying degrees of impairment. Such individuals excrete unoxidized trimethylamine in their urine and, if sufficiently compromised, may experience malodour problems (Fish-Odour Syndrome). Little information concerning this polymorphic N-oxidation process is available in other ethnic groups and the present study explores Jordanian, Ecuadorian and New Guinean populations. Subjects with a relative deficiency in N-oxidation were found in all three groups, with 1.7% (2/116) Jordanian, 3.8% (3/8) Ecuadorian and 11.0% (11/100) New Guinean excreting 80% or less of their total trimethylamine as the N-oxide. Two subjects from the Ecuadorian population (4% and 33% total trimethylamine as the N-oxide) exhibited frank trimethylaminuria. These observations suggest that a compromised ability to N-oxidize trimethylamine is detectable in several ethnic groups and that this polymorphic phenomenon may have a widespread existence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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