Article Text

PDF

Geographic differences in digoxin inactivation, a metabolic activity of the human anaerobic gut flora.
  1. V I Mathan,
  2. J Wiederman,
  3. J F Dobkin,
  4. J Lindenbaum
  1. Wellcome Research Unit, Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore, India.

    Abstract

    The inactivation of digoxin by conversion to reduced metabolites (digoxin reduction products, or DRP), a function of the anaerobic gut flora, was studied in normal volunteers from southern India and the United States. Digoxin was metabolised to DRP by 28 (13.7%) of 204 healthy south Indians in contrast to 67 (36.0%) of 186 New Yorkers (p less than 1 X 10(-6)). Only 1.0% of Indians compared with 14.0% of Americans excreted large amounts of metabolites (greater than 40% DRP) in the urine (p less than 1 X 10(-5)). Of 104 urban Indians, 23 (22.1%) were metabolisers, in contrast with five of 100 rural villagers (p less than 0.001). Within the urban group, digoxin metabolism correlated with education, frequency of animal protein intake, and most significantly, personal income. Organisms capable of reducing digoxin in vitro were found with similar frequencies in stool cultures from Indians and Americans. In the cultures of some subjects, DRP production was inhibited at lower dilutions but expressed at higher dilutions. We conclude that variations in drug metabolism between population groups may result from differences in the metabolic activity of the anaerobic gut flora probably mediated by environmentally determined factors.

    Statistics from Altmetric.com

    Request permissions

    If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.