, Volume 60, Issue 12, pp 843-848
Date: 14 Jan 2005

Ile118Val genetic polymorphism of CYP3A4 and its effects on lipid-lowering efficacy of simvastatin in Chinese hyperlipidemic patients

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To determine the frequencies of CYP3A4 alleles (CYP3A4*4,*5 and *6) in Chinese hyperlipidemic patients and to observe the impact of CYP3A4*4 (Ile118Val) genetic polymorphism on the lipid-lowering effects of simvastatin and on the activity of CYP3A4.


From hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients, 211 unrelated hyperlipidemic patients were recruited for genotyping. CYP3A4 genotypes were determined by means of polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Of the non-hospitalized hyperlipidemic patients, 8 with CYP3A4*1/*1 and 8 with CYP3A4*1/*4 genotypes were selected to be treated with 20 mg simvastatin daily for 4 weeks. Serum triglycerides (TG), cholesterol (CHO) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels were determined using an automated analyzer (Hitachi 747, Boehringer Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany). CYP3A4 activity was determined by the ratio of 6-hydroxycortisol to free cortisol (6-OHC/FC) in the morning spot urine with a high-throughput liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method.


Of 211 subjects, 14 (allele frequency 3.32%) were heterozygous for CYP3A4*4 (Ile118Val). Nevertheless, no subjects with a CYP3A4*5 or CYP3A4*6 allele or homozygous for CYP3A4*4 were identified. The ratio of 6β-OHC/FC was 9.9±13.7 and 56.6±35.7 in subjects with the Ile118Val variant (n=8) and in CYP3A4 wild-type subjects (n=8), respectively (P=0.0039). After oral intake of simvastatin 20 mg daily for 4 weeks, the change of serum lipids in CYP3A4*1/*1 and CYP3A4*1/*4 groups showed a significant difference, with a mean decrease in triglycerides and total cholesterol of 38.1±7.6% versus 25.1±8.3% (P=0.034) and of 35.8±9.6% versus 22.0±20.4% (P=0.0015) (means ± SD), respectively. We found no statistically significant difference in the reductions of LDL between subjects carrying the *1 and *4 genotypes (29.0±7.4% versus 36.8±8.8%, P=0.0721).


The allele frequency of CYP3A4*4 was 3.32% among the hyperlipidemic patients from the Chinese mainland. CYP3A4*4 was an allelic variant related to a functional decrease of CYP3A4 activity, and *4 expression seemed to increase the lipid-lowering effects of simvastatin.