The etiology of acquired aplastic anemia (AA) in most patients remains unclear. It is believed that patients with a reduced ability to detoxify environmental toxins are at increased risk of developing AA. Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) and glutathione S transferase (GST) are the major phase I and phase II xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes. We analyzed the impact of the polymorphisms in CYP4501A1 and GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes on the susceptibility and disease severity in 200 patients with AA and compared the frequency with the normal population. There was a significantly increased frequency of the CYP1A1m4 allele in AA patients compared with normal controls (odds ratio = 3.01; 95% confidence interval 1.76–5.17; p = 0.00001). None of the other CYP1A1 genotypes or the GST genotypes were significantly different between AA patients and controls. Altered metabolism of benzo(a)pyrene due to the polymorphism in the CYP1A1 gene might be an etiologic factor in the increased incidence of AA in these patients. The CYP1A1m4 allele may play a role in determining the risk of AA in India.

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