Ethnic differences in the VKORC1 gene polymorphism and an association with warfarin dosage requirements in cardiovascular surgery patients

Kenji Nakai*, Jyunichi Tsuboi, Hitoshi Okabayashi, Yoshiaki Fukuhiro, Takanori Oka, Wataru Habano, Noriko Fukushima, Keiko Nakai*, Wataru Obara, Tomoaki Fujioka, Akira Suwabe, David Gurwitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKORC1) is the drug target for inhibition by coumarin-based anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin. Warfarin therapy has been reported as a leading cause of drug-related hospitalization and there is therefore an urgent need to develop tests for better warfarin prescription. We report here the distribution of the intron 1 -136 T>C(1173 T>Cintron) polymorphism of VKORC1, previously reported to be associated with warfarin maintenance dose in Caucasians and Japanese, in several ethnic populations from Japan and Israel, and describe its significance for warfarin dosage in Japanese cardiovascular surgery patients Methods: Subjects consisted of 132 Japanese individuals and 341 Israeli individuals from four Jewish ethnic groups(86 Ashkenazi Jews, 95 Yemenite Jews, 73 Moroccan Jews and 87 Libyan Jew s). In addition, 31 Japanese patients receiving warfarin therapy after cardiovascular surgery, maintained with a target International Normalized Ratio, were studied. The genotyping for the 1173 T>Cintron polymorphism of VKORC1 was determined using rapid real-time PCR. Results: The allele frequency of the combined VKORC1 1173 CTand CC genotypes varied among the four Israeli ethnic groups and was, on average, much higher in the Israeli (0.728) than in the Japanese population (0.152). For the Japanese cardiovascular surgery patients, the maintenance dose of warfarin was significantly larger in the combined VKORC1 1173 TC and CC genotype group than in the 1173 TT genotype group (3.6 ± 0.5 mg vs 2.8 ± 0.7 mg, respectively; p = 0.02). Conclusion: The frequencies of the intron 1 VKORCI 1173 T>C SNP show significant differences between ethnic groups and are associated with warfarin dose requirements for achieving a recommended International Normalized Ratio range in Japanese cardiovascular surgery patients, This study supports the example of warfarin as an appropriate model for applying personalized medicine for anticoagulant drugs, and highlights the importance of ethnicity in pharmacogenetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-719
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Anticoagulation
  • Athnic groups
  • Cardiovascular surgery
  • Coumarins
  • Drug safety
  • Personalized medicine
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • VKORC1


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