Impact of Pregnancy and Vitamin A Supplementation on CYP2D6 Activity

Ogochukwu U. Amaeze, Lindsay C. Czuba, Aprajita S. Yadav, Emily E. Fay, Jeffrey LaFrance, Sara Shum, Sue L. Moreni, Jennie Mao, Weize Huang, Nina Isoherranen, Mary F. Hebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The mechanism of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) induction during pregnancy has not been evaluated in humans. This study assessed the changes in CYP2D6 and CYP3A activities during pregnancy and postpartum, and the effect of vitamin A administration on CYP2D6 activity. Forty-seven pregnant CYP2D6 extensive metabolizers (with CYP2D6 activity scores of 1 to 2) received dextromethorphan (DM) 30 mg orally as a single dose during 3 study windows (at 25 to 28 weeks of gestation, study day 1; at 28 to 32 weeks of gestation, study day 2; and at ≥3 months postpartum, study day 3). Participants were randomly assigned to groups with no supplemental vitamin A (control) or with supplemental vitamin A (10 000 IU/day orally for 3 to 4 weeks) after study day 1. Concentrations of DM and its metabolites, dextrorphan (DX) and 3-hydroxymorphinan (3HM), were determined from a 2-hour post-dose plasma sample and cumulative 4-hour urine sample using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry. Change in CYP2D6 activity was assessed using DX/DM plasma and urine metabolic ratios. The activity change in CYP3A was also assessed using the 3HM/DM urine metabolic ratio. The DX/DM urine ratio was significantly higher (43%) in pregnancy compared with postpartum (P =.03), indicating increased CYP2D6 activity. The DX/DM plasma ratio was substantially higher in the participants, with an activity score of 1.0 during pregnancy (P =.04) compared with postpartum. The 3HM/DM urinary ratio was significantly higher (92%) during pregnancy, reflecting increased CYP3A activity (P =.02). Vitamin A supplementation did not change CYP2D6 activity during pregnancy; however, plasma all-trans retinoic acid (atRA) concentrations were positively correlated with increased CYP2D6 activity during pregnancy and postpartum. Further research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms of increased CYP2D6 activity during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. The Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American College of Clinical Pharmacology.


  • CYP2D6
  • CYP3A
  • dextromethorphan
  • dextrorphan
  • postpartum
  • pregnancy
  • retinoids
  • vitamin A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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