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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jul 7;281(27):18591-600. Epub 2006 Apr 24.

For dioxin-induced birth defects, mouse or human CYP1A2 in maternal liver protects whereas mouse CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 are inconsequential.

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Department of Environmental Health and Center for Environmental Genetics, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45267-0056, USA.


Dioxin (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) induces cleft palate and hydronephrosis in mice, when exposed in utero; these effects are mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. The Cyp1a1, Cyp1a2, and Cyp1b1 genes are up-regulated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. To elucidate their roles in dioxin-induced teratogenesis, we compared Cyp1a1(-/-), Cyp1a2(-/-), and Cyp1b1(-/-) knock-out mice with Cyp1(+/+) wild-type mice. Dioxin was administered (25 microg/kg, gavage) on gestational day 10, and embryos were examined on gestational day 18. The incidence of cleft palate and hydronephrosis was not significantly different in fetuses from Cyp1a1(-/-), Cyp1b1(-/-), and Cyp1(+/+) wild-type mice. To fetuses carried by Cyp1a2(-/-) dams, however, this dose of dioxin was lethal; this effect was absolutely dependent on the maternal Cyp1a2 genotype and independent of the embryonic Cyp1a2 genotype. Dioxin levels were highest in adipose tissue, mammary gland, and circulating blood of Cyp1a2(-/-) mothers, compared with that in the Cyp1(+/+) mothers, who showed highest dioxin levels in liver. More dioxin reached the embryos from Cyp1a2(-/-) dams, compared with that from Cyp1(+/+) dams. Fetuses from Cyp1a2(-/-) dams exhibited a approximately 6-fold increased sensitivity to cleft palate, hydronephrosis, and lethality. Using the humanized hCYP1A1_1A2 transgenic mouse (expressing the human CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 genes in the absence of mouse Cyp1a2 gene), the teratogenic effects of dioxin reverted to the wild-type phenotype. These data indicate that maternal mouse hepatic CYP1A2, by sequestering dioxin and thus altering the pharmacokinetics, protects the embryos from toxicity and birth defects; substitution of the human CYP1A2 trans-gene provides the same protection. In contrast, neither CYP1A1 nor CYP1B1 appears to play a role in dioxin-mediated teratogenesis.

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