N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylation polymorphism: prevalence of slow acetylators does not differ between atopic dermatitis patients and healthy subjects

Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2003 Nov-Dec;16(6):386-92. doi: 10.1159/000072934.


The genetic polymorphism of human N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) divides the human population into groups with rapid, intermediate and slow acetylator status. Slow acetylator status has been considered a predisposing factor for allergic diseases, lupus erythematosus, toxic epidermal necrolysis or Stevens-Johnson syndrome. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Caucasian patients suffering from atopic dermatitis differed from healthy individuals with regard to the genotype and phenotype of NAT2. Twenty unrelated healthy Caucasian volunteers (9 females and 11 males, aged from 22 to 59 years) and twenty unrelated Caucasian patients suffering from atopic dermatitis (9 females and 11 males, aged between 20 and 54 years) participated in this study. For each one, the NAT2 genotype was determined by polymerase chain reaction with DNA extracted from peripheral blood, using specific primers for the wild-type allele (wt) and the 3 most frequent mutated alleles of NAT2 (C481-->T, G590-->A and G857-->A). The NAT2 phenotype was evaluated with dapsone as a test substrate using high-pressure liquid chromatography. Statistical analysis was performed using the chi(2) test. Phenotype and genotype were distributed as follows: (1) of the healthy subjects, 60% were rapid acetylators (RA) and 40% were slow acetylators (SA); 10% of the RA and 15% of the SA were homozygous, 50% of the RA and 25% of the SA were heterozygous; (2) of the patients, 55% were RA, 40% were SA and 5% were intermediate acetylators (IA); 10% of the RA and 10% of the SA were homozygous, 45% of the RA and 35% of the SA were heterozygous. No significant statistical difference was found between the two groups for genotypes (p = 0.75) or phenotypes (p = 0.60). The phenotyping and genotyping results of healthy subjects were comparable to those found in previous studies. The absence of a significant statistical difference between healthy subjects and atopic dermatitis patients is in contrast to the results of previous studies. Some authors considered that allergic patients are mostly SAs. This could be explained by the fact that we only considered patients suffering from atopic dermatitis whereas, in other studies, patients suffered from different (one or several associated) allergic diseases. NAT2 polymorphism does not differ between patients suffering from atopic dermatitis and healthy subjects. The importance attributed to the SA status, which was previously considered a predisposing factor for allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, should be reviewed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Adult
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase / genetics*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Dapsone / blood
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / enzymology
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Dapsone
  • DNA
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase
  • NAT2 protein, human