Women recover faster from propofol anaesthesia and have been described to have a higher incidence of awareness during surgery, compared to men - an effect that may be inherent in sex differences in propofol metabolism. In an observational study, 98 ASA I-II patients treated with continuous propofol infusion were recruited. The associations between sex and CYP2B6 and UGT1A9 polymorphisms with dose- and weight-adjusted area under the total plasma level time curves (AUC) for propofol, and its metabolites propofol glucuronide (PG), 4-hydroxypropofol (OHP) and hydroxyl glucuronide metabolites 4-hydroxypropofol-1-O-β-D-glucuronide (Q1G) and 4-hydroxypropofol-4-O-β-D-glucuronide (Q4G), were analysed. Significantly higher AUC of PG (1.3 times, p = 0.03), Q1G (2.9 times, p < 0.001), Q4G (2.4 times, p < 0.01) and OHP (4.6 times, p = 0.01) were found in women (n = 53) than in men (n = 45) after intravenous infusion of propofol using target-controlled infusion system. There was, however, no significant impact of gene polymorphisms on propofol biotransformation. The results, which are supported by a previous pilot study using a propofol bolus dose, suggest that, compared to men, more rapid propofol metabolism may occur in women - a factor that may contribute to the mentioned differences in the efficacy of propofol anaesthesia between male and female patients.
2013. Vol. 113, no 2, 126-131 p.