Genomics of ADME gene expression: mapping expression quantitative trait loci relevant for absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs in human liver

Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Feb;13(1):12-20. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2011.44. Epub 2011 Oct 18.


Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) analysis is a powerful approach toward identifying genetic loci associated with quantitative changes in gene expression. We applied genome-wide association analysis to a data set of >300 000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and >48 000 mRNA expression phenotypes obtained by Illumina microarray profiling of 149 human surgical liver samples obtained from Caucasian donors with detailed medical documentation. Of 1226 significant associations, only 200 were validated when comparing with a previously published similar study. Potential explanations for low replication rate include differences in microarray platforms, statistical modeling, covariates considered and origin and collection procedures of tissues. Focused analysis revealed a subset of 95 associations related to absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs. Of these, 21 were true replications and 74 were newly discovered associations in enzymes, transporters, transcriptional regulators and other genes. This study extends our knowledge about the genetics of inter-individual variability of gene expression with particular emphasis on pharmacogenomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Biological Transport
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Genetic Association Studies / methods
  • Genome-Wide Association Study / methods
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods*
  • Pharmacokinetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Tissue Distribution


  • RNA, Messenger