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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2003 Oct;307(1):402-7.

Human hepatic CYP2E1 expression during development.

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  • 1Birth Defects Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Apr;309(1):439.


Human hepatic CYP2E1 expression developmental changes likely have an impact on the effects of xenobiotics metabolized by the encoded enzyme. To resolve previous conflicting results, CYP2E1 content was determined in human hepatic microsomes from samples spanning fetal (n = 73, 8-37 weeks) and postnatal (n = 165, 1 day-18 years) ages. Measurable immunodetectable CYP2E1 was seen in 18 of 49 second-trimester (93-186 gestational days) and 12 of 15 third-trimester (>186 days) fetal samples (medians = 0.35 and 6.7 pmol/mg microsomal protein, respectively). CYP2E1 in neonatal samples was low and less than that of infants 31 to 90 days of age, which was less than that of older infants, children, and young adults [median (range) = 8.8 (0-70); 23.8 (10-43); 41.4 (18-95) pmol/mg microsomal protein, respectively; each P < 0.001, analysis of variance, post hoc]. Among those older than 90 days of age, CYP2E1 content was similar. A 4-fold or greater intersubject variation was observed among samples from each age group, with the greatest variation, 80-fold, seen among neonatal samples. Among subjects of known gestational and postnatal age (n = 29) increasing protein content was associated with increasing postnatal age (P < 0.001, linear regression), but only equivocally with increasing gestational age (P = 0.07). Individuals from the third trimester through 90 days postnatal age with one or more CYP2E1*1D alleles had lower CYP2E1 protein content than similar-aged subjects who were homozygous CYP2E1*1C. In summary, CYP2E1 was clearly expressed in human fetal liver. Furthermore, the postnatal data suggest that infants less than 90 days old would have decreased clearance of CYP2E1 substrates compared with older infants, children, and adults.

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