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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2009 Jul;50(7):3099-105. doi: 10.1167/iovs.08-2790. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Expression of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in human nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cells: induction of CYP1B1 expression by TCDD.

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Institute of Biomedicine, Pharmacology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland;



Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes metabolize endogenous compounds such as steroid hormones, fatty acids, and xenobiotics, including drugs and carcinogens. Expression of CYP enzymes in ocular tissues is poorly known. However, mutations in the CYP1B1 gene have been linked to congenital glaucoma. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression and regulation of cytochrome P450 enzymes in a human nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cell line.


Expression of mRNAs for major xenobiotic metabolizing CYPs in families 1-3 and regulatory factors involved in the induction of CYPs was studied using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. For induction studies, the cells were treated with dexamethasone or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) for 24 hours. RNA and immunoblotting analysis were used to study CYP induction. Transcriptional regulation of CYP1B1 gene was studied by transient transfection of reporter gene constructs.


mRNAs of CYP1A1, CYP1B1, and CYP2D6 and of the regulatory factors aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator, and glucocorticoid receptor were expressed in the human nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cell line. CYP1B1 mRNA was strongly and dose dependently induced by TCDD. CYP1B1 protein was detected only after TCDD treatment of the human nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cells. CYP1B1 promoter was activated by TCDD. The major drug-metabolizing enzymes CYP1A2, CYP2Cs, and CYP3As were not detected in these cells, and dexamethasone treatment had no effect on CYP expression.


TCDD potently induces CYP1B1 mRNA in human nonpigmented ciliary epithelial cells, suggesting the involvement of an AHR-mediated pathway in the regulation of ciliary CYP1B1 expression.

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