Cytochrome P450 mRNA expression in the rodent brain: Species-, sex-, and region-dependent differences

Marianna Stamou, Xianai Wu, Izabela Kania-Korwel, Hans Joachim Lehmler, Pamela J Lein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Cytochrome P450 (P450) enzymes play a critical role in the activation and detoxication of many neurotoxic chemicals. Although research has largely focused on P450-mediated metabolismin the liver, emerging evidence suggests that brain P450s influence neurotoxicity by modulating local metabolite levels. As a first step toward better understanding the relative role of brain P450s in determining neurotoxic outcome, we characterized mRNA expression of specific P450 isoforms in the rodent brain. Adult mice (male and female) and rats (male) were treated with vehicle, phenobarbital, or dexamethasone. Transcripts for CYP2B, CYP3A, CYP1A2, and the orphan CYP4X1 and CYP2S1 were quantified in the liver, hippocampus, cortex, and cerebellum by quantitative (real-time) polymerase chain reaction. These P450s were all detected in the liver with the exception of CYP4X1, which was detected in rat but not mouse liver. P450 expression profiles in the brain varied regionally. With the exception of the hippocampus, there were no sex differences in regional brain P450 expression profiles in mice; however, there were marked species differences. In the liver, phenobarbital induced CYP2B expression in both species. Dexamethasone induced hepatic CYP2B and CYP3A in mice but not rats. In contrast, brain P450s did not respond to these classic hepatic P450 inducers. Our findings demonstrate that P450 mRNA expression in the brain varies by region, regional brain P450 profiles vary between species, and their induction varies from that of hepatic P450s. These novel data will be useful for designingmechanistic studies to examine the relative role of P450-mediated brain metabolism in neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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