Thiopurine methyltransferase alleles in British and Ghanaian populations

M M Ameyaw, E S R Collie-Duguid, R H Powrie, D Ofori-Adjei, H L McLeod

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Abstract

Thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) catalyses the S-methylation of thiopurine drugs such as 6-mercaptopurine, 6-thioguanine and azathioprine, TPMT activity is inherited as an autosomal co-dominant trait, and several mutations in the TPMT gene have been identified which correlate with a low activity phenotype. Although ethnic differences in TPMT activity have been described, population frequency analysis of TPMT alleles has not been well defined in different ethnic groups. The frequency of four allelic variants of the TPMT gene, TPMT*2, TPMT*3A, TPMT*3B and TPMT*3C were compared in British Caucasian (n = 199) and Ghanaian (n = 217) populations using PCR-RFLP and allele-specific PCR-based assays. TPMT*3C was found in 14.8% of Ghanaians (31 heterozygotes, one homozygote). The TPMT*2, TPMT*3A and TPMT*3B alleles were not detected in any of the Ghanaian samples analysed. In contrast, 10.1% of British subjects had variant alleles, consisting of TPMT*2 (n = 2), TPMT*3A (n = 17) and TPMT*3C (n = 1) alleles, The frequencies of mutant alleles in this study were 5.3 and 7.6% in British Caucasians and Ghanaians, respectively. Among Ghanaian tribes, Ewe subjects had a lower frequency of mutant alleles (5.9%) than Ga (13.2%) or Fanti (11.6%), although this did not reach statistical significance. This study provides the first analysis of TPMT mutant allele frequency in an African population and indicates that, unlike Caucasians, TPMT*3C is the most common allele in African subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-370
Number of pages4
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Volume8
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Keywords

  • ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC-LEUKEMIA
  • S-METHYLTRANSFERASE
  • MERCAPTOPURINE METABOLISM
  • GENETIC-POLYMORPHISM
  • CATALYTIC ACTIVITY
  • BLACK SUBJECTS
  • PHARMACOGENETICS
  • DEFICIENCY
  • 6-MERCAPTOPURINE
  • AZATHIOPRINE

Cite this

Ameyaw, M. M., Collie-Duguid, E. S. R., Powrie, R. H., Ofori-Adjei, D., & McLeod, H. L. (1999). Thiopurine methyltransferase alleles in British and Ghanaian populations. Human Molecular Genetics, 8, 367-370.