The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR)-dependent induction of cytochromes P450 (P450) such as CYP1A1 by 3-methylcholanthrene (MC) and related polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is well characterized. We reported previously that MC treatment triggers a pronounced downregulation, particularly at the protein level, of mouse hepatic Cyp3a11, a counterpart of the key human drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP3A4. To determine whether this effect of MC requires hepatic microsomal P450 activity, we studied liver Cpr-null (LCN) mice with hepatocyte-specific conditional deletion of the NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase gene. In vehicle-treated animals, basal levels of CYP3A11 mRNA and CYP3A protein immunoreactivity were elevated by approximately 9-fold in LCN mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice, whereas CYP3A catalytic activity was profoundly compromised in LCN mice. MC treatment caused suppression of CYP3A11 mRNA, CYP3A protein immunoreactivity, and CYP3A catalytic activity in WT mice, and the MC effects at the mRNA and protein levels were maintained in LCN mice. Flavin-containing monooxygenase-3 (Fmo3) induction by MC was suggested previously to occur via an AHR-dependent mechanism requiring conversion of the parent compound to DNA-damaging reactive metabolites; however, hepatic FMO3 mRNA levels were dramatically increased by MC in both WT and LCN mice. MC did not function as a mechanism-based inactivator of CYP3A enzymes in hepatic microsomes prepared from untreated WT mice, under conditions in which 1-aminobenzotriazole caused marked NADPH-dependent loss of total P450 content and CYP3A catalytic activity. These results indicate that MC downregulates mouse hepatic CYP3A protein via a pretranslational mechanism that does not require hepatic microsomal P450-dependent activity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmaceutical Science