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Biochem Pharmacol. 1996 Jul 26;52(2):379-83.

Detection of cytochrome P450 gene expression in human placenta in first trimester of pregnancy.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Oulu, Finland.


Human first-trimester placentas were screened for the expression of xenobiotic-metabolizing cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes. mRNAs of CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP2C, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, CYP2F1, CYP3A4, CYP3A5, CYP3A7, and CYP4B1 were identified by reverse transcriptase-polymearse chain reaction (RT-PCR) in at least some of the six placental samples studied. CYP2A and CYP2B message were absent in all samples. The level of all of these CYP mRNAs was lower compared to the corresponding levels in liver or lung. the catalytic activity marker (7-ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase) was inducible in the placentas by maternal cigarette smoking. Thus, the regulatory system of placental CYP1A1, mediated by the Ah-receptor, appears to be developed as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Three immunoreactive bands from placental microsomes were detected by an antihuman CYP3A4 antibody, but no functional activity of CYP3A enzymes could be detected. These results show that placental tissue during the first trimester of pregnancy has the potential of expressing several CYP genes, and forms a basis for subsequent analysis of these forms at the protein and functional level.

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