Predominance of slow acetylators of N-acetyltransferase in a Hmong population residing in the United States Journal Article uri icon

abstract

  • Pharmacogenetics can be an important determinant of pharmacologic response. To learn more about interpopulation differences in drug metabolism between ethnically diverse populations of subjects cared for by an International Clinic, a study was conducted to describe the prevalence of fast or slow acetylators of N-acetyltransferase (NAT2) in a population of Hmong residing in Minnesota. Ninety-eight healthy Hmong refugees from Laos volunteered to take caffeine as an oral probe drug to establish acetylator phenotype. Participants were classified as either rapid or slow acetylators based on the urinary molar ratio of select metabolites of caffeine. Assignment of phenotype was based on results from analysis of urine collected subsequent to ingestion of caffeine. The ratio of 5-acetylamino-6-formylamino-3-methyluracil (AFMU) to the combined products of the 7-demethylation pathway of paraxanthine (AFMU, 1-methylxanthine (1X), and 1-methylurate (1U)] formed the basis for this determination. A probit plot of the data collected in our subjects qualified a metabolic ratio of 0.34 as an acceptable cut point for phenotype assignment. Participants with an AFMU/(AFMU + 1X + 1U) ratio of < 0.34 were classified as slow acetylators and all others as rapid acetylators. Analysis of the data suggested a bimodal distribution with an excess (74.5%) of slow acetylators in the population. The predominance of slow acetylators found in the Hmong contrast with the prevalence of slow acetylators seen in other ethnic groups. These findings may have important clinical implications given the large number of Hmong treated each year in our International Clinic and the increasing use of medications metabolized by NAT2 in this population.

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publication date

  • 1996