Pioglitazone is the most widely used thiazolidinedione and acts as an insulin-sensitizer through activation of the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor-γ (PPARγ). Pioglitazone is approved for use in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), but its use in other therapeutic areas is increasing due to pleiotropic effects. In this hypothesis article, the current clinical evidence on pioglitazone pharmacogenomics is summarized and related to variability in pioglitazone response. How genetic variation in the human genome affects the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of pioglitazone was examined. For pharmacodynamic effects, hypoglycemic and anti-atherosclerotic effects, risks of fracture or edema, and the increase in body mass index in response to pioglitazone based on genotype were examined. The genes CYP2C8 and PPARG are the most extensively studied to date and selected polymorphisms contribute to respective variability in pioglitazone pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. We hypothesized that genetic variation in pioglitazone pathway genes contributes meaningfully to the clinically observed variability in drug response. To test the hypothesis that genetic variation in PPARG associates with variability in pioglitazone response, we conducted a meta-analysis to synthesize the currently available data on the PPARG p.Pro12Ala polymorphism. The results showed that PPARG 12Ala carriers had a more favorable change in fasting blood glucose from baseline as compared to patients with the wild-type Pro12Pro genotype (p = 0.018). Unfortunately, findings for many other genes lack replication in independent cohorts to confirm association; further studies are needed. Also, the biological functionality of these polymorphisms is unknown. Based on current evidence, we propose that pharmacogenomics may provide an important tool to individualize pioglitazone therapy and better optimize therapy in patients with T2DM or other conditions for which pioglitazone is being used.
Keywords: CYP2C8; PPAR; cytochrome P450; pharmacodynamics; pharmacokinetics; pioglitazone; thiazolidinedione.