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Clozapine metabolism is associated with absolute neutrophil count in individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia

Willcocks, Isabella ORCID:, Legge, Sophie, Nalmpanti, Mariana, Mazzeo, Lucy, King, Adrian, Jansen, John, Helthius, Marinka, Owen, Michael ORCID:, O'Donovan, Michael ORCID:, Walters, James ORCID: and Pardinas, Antonio ORCID: 2021. Clozapine metabolism is associated with absolute neutrophil count in individuals with treatment-resistant schizophrenia. Frontiers in Pharmacology 12 , 658734. 10.3389/fphar.2021.658734

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Up to one-third of those with schizophrenia fail to respond to standard antipsychotics and are considered to have treatment-resistant schizophrenia, a condition for which clozapine is the only evidence-based medication. While up to 60% of treated individuals obtain therapeutic benefits from clozapine, it is currently underprescribed worldwide, partly because of concerns related to its broad adverse effect profile. In particular, the potential effects of clozapine on the immune system have gained relevance after a recent study showed that drug plasma concentrations were inversely correlated with neutrophil counts in individuals routinely undergoing treatment. Seeking to investigate this relationship in more detail, we extracted metabolic, immune, and genetic data from a UK cohort of long-term clozapine users linked to a clozapine monitoring service, CLOZUK2 (N = 208). Whilst a correlation analysis was compatible with the original results, a multiple linear regression accounting for dose and other confounding factors additionally allowed us to estimate the decrease in absolute neutrophil counts to approximately 141 cells/mm3 for every 0.1 mg/L increase in clozapine concentration. However, this association was attenuated after controlling for the metabolic ratio between clozapine and its main metabolite, norclozapine, which was itself negatively associated with neutrophil concentrations. Further analyses revealed that these relationships are likely moderated by genetic factors, as three pharmacogenomic SNPs previously associated to norclozapine plasma concentrations and the metabolic ratio (rs61750900, rs2011425 and rs1126545) were shown to be independently associated with a variation in neutrophil counts of about 400 cells/mm3 per effect allele. Such results are compatible with an effect of norclozapine, but not necessarily clozapine, on immune cell counts, and highlight the need for further investigations into the potential role of genetic determinants of clozapine pharmacokinetics in the occurrence of adverse effects during treatment.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Frontiers
ISSN: 1663-9812
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 March 2021
Date of Acceptance: 17 March 2021
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 03:43

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