Sex Differences in the Expression of Drug-Metabolizing and Transporter Genes in Human Liver

J Drug Metab Toxicol. 2012;3(3):1000119. doi: 10.4172/2157-7609.1000119. Epub 2012 Jul 10.


Human sex differences in the gene expression of drug metabolizing enzymes and transporters (DMETs) introduce differences in drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion, possibly affecting drug efficacy and adverse reactions. However, existing studies aimed at identifying dimorphic expression differences of DMET genes are limited by sample size and the number of genes profiled. Focusing on a list of 374 DMET genes, we analyzed a previously published gene expression data set consisting of human male (n=234) and female (n=193) liver samples, and identified 77 genes showing differential expression due to sex. To delineate the biological functionalities and regulatory mechanisms for the differentially expressed DMET genes, we conducted a co-expression network analysis. Moreover, clinical implications of sex differences in the expression of human hepatic DMETs are discussed. This study may contribute to the realization of personalized medicine by better understanding the inter-individual differences between males and females in drug/xenobiotic responses and human disease susceptibilities.

Keywords: Co-expression network analysis; DMET; Drug metabolizing enzymes; Gene expression; Human liver; Sex difference; Transporters.