Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Azathioprine metabolism is influenced by activity of the enzyme thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT), which varies markedly between individuals. In this study we examined the influence of TPMT gene polymorphisms on azathioprine dose 1 year after renal transplantation. TPMT coding and promoter genotypes were determined using PCR-based assays. Azathioprine dose, white cell count, and intercurrent events throughout the first year after renal transplantation were ascertained from contemporaneous clinical notes. All patients analysed ( n=172) received an initial azathioprine dose of 1.5 mg/kg per day. Twelve individuals with one variant TPMT coding allele were detected (*3A n=11, *3C n=1). Of these, 58% required azathioprine dose reduction because of leucopenia, compared to only 30% of homozygous wild-type patients ( P=0.04). A significant correlation between the presence of >/=11 variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs) in the TPMT promoter and reduction in azathioprine dose was also identified ( P=0.001). We concluded that when azathioprine is administered at an initial dose of 1.5 mg/kg per day, both coding and promoter TPMT polymorphisms influence the dose tolerated.

Original publication




Journal article


Transpl Int

Publication Date





531 - 539


Azathioprine, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Gene Frequency, Genotype, Humans, Immunosuppressive Agents, Kidney Transplantation, Leukopenia, Methyltransferases, Polymorphism, Genetic, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Retrospective Studies, Tandem Repeat Sequences, Time Factors