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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2009 May 15;237(1):119-26. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2009.03.001. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 expression: comparing 'humanized' mouse lines and wild-type mice; comparing human and mouse hepatoma-derived cell lines.

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Department of Biochemistry, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchikami-cho, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.


Human and rodent cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes sometimes exhibit striking species-specific differences in substrate preference and rate of metabolism. Human risk assessment of CYP substrates might therefore best be evaluated in the intact mouse by replacing mouse Cyp genes with human CYP orthologs; however, how "human-like" can human gene expression be expected in mouse tissues? Previously a bacterial-artificial-chromosome-transgenic mouse, carrying the human CYP1A1_CYP1A2 locus and lacking the mouse Cyp1a1 and Cyp1a2 orthologs, was shown to express robustly human dioxin-inducible CYP1A1 and basal versus inducible CYP1A2 (mRNAs, proteins, enzyme activities) in each of nine mouse tissues examined. Chimeric mice carrying humanized liver have also been generated, by transplanting human hepatocytes into a urokinase-type plasminogen activator(+/+)_severe-combined-immunodeficiency (uPA/SCID) line with most of its mouse hepatocytes ablated. Herein we compare basal and dioxin-induced CYP1A mRNA copy numbers, protein levels, and four enzymes (benzo[a]pyrene hydroxylase, ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase, acetanilide 4-hydroxylase, methoxyresorufin O-demethylase) in liver of these two humanized mouse lines versus wild-type mice; we also compare these same parameters in mouse Hepa-1c1c7 and human HepG2 hepatoma-derived established cell lines. Most strikingly, mouse liver CYP1A1-specific enzyme activities are between 38- and 170-fold higher than human CYP1A1-specific enzyme activities (per unit of mRNA), whereas mouse versus human CYP1A2 enzyme activities (per unit of mRNA) are within 2.5-fold of one another. Moreover, both the mouse and human hepatoma cell lines exhibit striking differences in CYP1A mRNA levels and enzyme activities. These findings are relevant to risk assessment involving human CYP1A1 and CYP1A2 substrates, when administered to mice as environmental toxicants or drugs.

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