Regulation of cytochrome P450 in the central nervous system

Margaret Warner, Maria Strömstedt, Adrian Wyss, Jan-Ake Gustafsson

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34 Scopus citations


The role of brain P450 in the physiology, pharmacology and toxicology of the brain is the subject of this study. Cytochrome P450 was isolated from the brains of rats and quantitated spectrally. The contribution of the known hepatic forms of the enzyme to the forms constitutive in the brain as well as those which are induced by hormones are xenobiotics were characterized on Western blots. We have found that the level of P450 in the brain is increased during pregnancy and lactation, by partial hepatectomy and by ethanol. In each case the profile of P450s induced is different. In pregnancy and lactation the P450 content of the hypothalamic preoptic area and olfactory lobes were increased up to 10-fold and the only subfamily identified on Western blots was 4A. There was no detectable 1A, 2A, 2B, 2C, or 2E1. Ethanol increases the level of brain P450 3- to 5-fold and P450 2C, 2E1 and 4A are induced. Upon partial hepatectomy P450 1A, 2C and 4A were detected on Western blots but there was no 2E1. The inducibility of these forms of P450 in the brain suggests that there is in situ metabolism of steroids, fatty acids, prostaglandins, ethanol and other xenobiotics in the brain and raises questions about the role of brain P450 in the development of tolerance to drugs and the neurotoxicity of xenobiotics. More importantly, the action of neurotransmitters such as dopamine which utilize fatty acid metabolites as intracellular mediators, could be influenced by the levels of 2C and 4A P450s.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-194
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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