Background: Up to 20% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who are refractory to thiopurine therapy preferentially produce 6-methylmercaptopurine (6-MMP) at the expense of 6-thioguanine nucleotides (6-TGN), resulting in a high 6-MMP:6-TGN ratio (> 20). The objective of this study was to evaluate whether genetic variability in guanine monophosphate synthetase (GMPS) contributes to preferential 6-MMP metabolizer phenotype. Methods: Exome sequencing was performed in a cohort of IBD patients with 6-MMP:6-TGN ratios of > 100 to identify nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs). In vitro assays were performed to measure GMPS activity associated with these nsSNPs. Frequency of the nsSNPs was measured in a cohort of 530 Caucasian IBD patients. Results: Two nsSNPs in GMPS (rs747629729, rs61750370) were detected in 11 patients with very high 6-MMP:6-TGN ratios. The 2 nsSNPs were predicted to be damaging by in silico analysis. In vitro assays demonstrated that both nsSNPs resulted in a significant reduction in GMPS activity (P < 0.05). The SNP rs61750370 was significantly associated with 6-MMP:6-TGN ratios ≥ 100 (odds ratio, 5.64; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-25.12; P < 0.031) in a subset of 264 Caucasian IBD patients. Conclusions: The GMPS SNP rs61750370 may be a reliable risk factor for extreme 6MMP preferential metabolism.
- 6-methylmercaptopurine (6-MMP)
- 6-thioguanine nucleotides (6-TGN)
- Guanosine monophosphate synthetase (GMPS)