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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jul 11;278(28):25895-901. Epub 2003 Apr 15.

Liver-specific deletion of the NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase gene: impact on plasma cholesterol homeostasis and the function and regulation of microsomal cytochrome P450 and heme oxygenase.

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  • 1Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, and School of Public Health, State University of New York, Albany, New York 12201, USA.


A mouse model with liver-specific deletion of the NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (Cpr) gene (designated Alb-Cre/Cprlox mice) was generated and characterized in this study. Hepatic microsomal CPR expression was significantly reduced at 3 weeks and was barely detectable at 2 months of age in the Alb-Cre+/-/Cprlox+/+ (homozygous) mice, with corresponding decreases in liver microsomal cytochrome P450 (CYP) and heme oxygenase (HO) activities, in pentobarbital clearance, and in total plasma cholesterol level. Nevertheless, the homozygous mice are fertile and are normal in gross appearance and growth rate. However, at 2 months, although not at 3 weeks, the homozygotes had significant increases in liver weight, accompanied by hepatic lipidosis and other pathologic changes. Intriguingly, total microsomal CYP content was increased in the homozygotes about 2-fold at 3 weeks and about 3-fold at 2 months of age; at 2 months, there were varying degrees of induction in protein (1-5-fold) and mRNA expression (0-67-fold) for all CYPs examined. There was also an induction of HO-1 protein (nearly 9-fold) but no induction of HO-2. These data indicate the absence of significant alternative redox partners for liver microsomal CYP and HO, provide in vivo evidence for the significance of hepatic CPR-dependent enzymes in cholesterol homeostasis and systemic drug clearance, and reveal novel regulatory pathways of CYP expression associated with altered cellular homeostasis. The Alb-Cre/Cprlox mouse represents a unique model for studying the in vivo function of hepatic HO and microsomal CYP-dependent pathways in the biotransformation of endogenous and xenobiotic compounds.

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