Sex differences in drug metabolism: cytochrome P-450 and uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase

J Gend Specif Med. 2002 Jan-Feb;5(1):25-33.


The two most common families of enzymes involved in drug metabolism are the cytochrome P-450 (CYP) and the uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) enzymes. The activity of these enzymes depends on genetic, physiologic, and environmental effects. Because the genes involved in the CYP and UGT proteins are not X-linked, the incidence of poor metabolizers would not be expected to be sex-dependent. However, genetics also controls the amount (or activity) of the enzymes. Sex-dependent differences have been demonstrated for several CYP isoenzymes and for UGT. Ethnicity also appears to play a role in the activity of these enzymes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Biotransformation / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / physiology
  • Female
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / genetics
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism*
  • Racial Groups / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / genetics


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP1A2 protein, human
  • CYP2C19 protein, human
  • CYP3A protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A2
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2C19
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP3A
  • Steroid 16-alpha-Hydroxylase
  • Glucuronosyltransferase