Xylene induces a cytochrome P-450 isozyme in rat liver similar to the major isozyme induced by phenobarbital

R. Toftgard, J. Halpert, Jan-Ake Gustafsson

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45 Scopus citations


Rats pretreated with xylene or phenobarbital, and then exposed to n-hexane, exhibited a markedly increased peak serum concentration of the neurotoxic metabolite 2,5-hexanedione. In order to elucidate the mechanism underlying this synergistic effect, the major liver microsomal cytochrome P-450 isozymes induced by xylene and phenobarbital, respectively, were purified. In a reconstituted system both isozymes showed a high enzymatic activity with n-hexane as the substrate. Turnover numbers for the formation of 2-hexanol were 24 and 27 for the xylene- and phenobarbital-induced isozyme, respectively. The turnover numbers for 7-ethoxycoumarin, benzo[a]pyrene, and 1,1,2,2-tetrachloroethane were also in the same range for the two cytochrome P-450 preparations. The isozyme induced by xylene had an amino acid composition very similar to that of the phenobarbital-induced isozyme, and the purified proteins had identical electrophoretic mobilities on polyacrylamide gels in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate. Furthermore, similar peptide maps were obtained following digestion with α-chymotrypsin and papain, and each isozyme yielded a single immunoprecipitin band upon reaction with the immunoglobulin G fraction from rabbits immunized with the phenobarbital-induced enzyme. We conclude that xylene induces a rat liver microsomal cytochrome P-450 isozyme very similar to the major isozyme induced by phenobarbital and that the induction is the probable explanation for the enhanced formation of 2,5-hexanedione from n-hexane in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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