Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) continues to be a most common complication of surgery and anesthesia. It has been suggested that the inherited factors may play a significant role in the background sensitivity to both PONV and also chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), including resistance to antiemetic prophylaxis and/or therapy. This notion could be best exemplified by occurrence of PONV in several generations of families and concordance of PONV in monozygotic twins. The most frequently addressed issue in the research on genomic background of PONV/CINV relates to the inherited resistance to the antiemetic treatment (pharmacogenomics), and in lesser degree to their genomic background. The most common group of antiemetics consists of 5HT3 receptor antagonists, and this group was an initial target of pharmacogenomic research. Most research approaches have been based on the investigation of polymorphic variations in the target for the antiemetic 5HT3 receptor antagonists, i.e., serotonin receptor subunits A and B (HTR3A and HTR3B). The other area of pharmacogenomic investigations includes metabolic pathways of 5HT3 antagonists, in particular polymorphic variants of the CYP450 2D6 isoform (CYP2D6) because most of them are metabolized in various degrees by the CYP2D6 system. The results of targeted genomic association studies indicate that other genes are also associated with PONV and CINV, including OPRM1, and ABCB1. In addition, genes such as DRD2 and CHRM3 genes have recently been associated with PONV. The new genome-wide association studies seem also to indicate that the background genomic sensitivity to PONV and CINV might be multifactorial and include several genomic pathways.
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