CYP2B6 metabolizes many drugs, and its expression varies greatly. CYP2B6 genotype-phenotype associations were determined using human livers that were biochemically phenotyped for CYP2B6 (mRNA, protein, and CYP2B6 activity), and genotyped for CYP2B6 coding and 5'-flanking regions. CYP2B6 expression differed significantly between sexes. Females had higher amounts of CYP2B6 mRNA (3.9-fold, P < 0.001), protein (1.7-fold, P < 0.009), and activity (1.6-fold, P < 0.05) than did male subjects. Furthermore, 7.1% of females and 20% of males were poor CYP2B6 metabolizers. Striking differences among different ethnic groups were observed: CYP2B6 activity was 3.6- and 5.0-fold higher in Hispanic females than in Caucasian (P < 0.022) or African-American females (P < 0.038). Ten single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the CYP2B6 promoter and seven in the coding region were found, including a newly identified 13072A>G substitution that resulted in an Lys139Glu change. Many CYP2B6 splice variants (SV) were observed, and the most common variant lacked exons 4 to 6. A nonsynonymous SNP in exon 4 (15631G>T), which disrupted an exonic splicing enhancer, and a SNP 15582C>T in an intron-3 branch site were correlated with this SV. The extent to which CYP2B6 variation was a predictor of CYP2B6 activity varied according to sex and ethnicity. The 1459C>T SNP, which resulted in the Arg487Cys substitution, was associated with the lowest level of CYP2B6 activity in livers of females. The intron-3 15582C>T SNP (in significant linkage disequilibrium with a SNP in a putative hepatic nuclear factor 4 (HNF4) binding site) was correlated with lower CYP2B6 expression in females. In conclusion, we found several common SNPs that are associated with polymorphic CYP2B6 expression.
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