P-Glycoprotein (P-gp) and cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) share common substrates and expression properties, but the relationship of mdrl deficiency to CYP3A-mediated metabolism and protein expression is not established. The in vitro kinetic parameters of CYP3A-mediated metabolism of midazolam (MDZ), triazolam (TRZ), and dexamethasone (DEX) were studied in liver microsomes from three mrdrla(-/-) mice, one mdrla/b(-/-) mouse, and mdrla/b(+/+) controls. The kinetic profiles of CYP3A-mediated MDZ 4-hydroxylation were not significantly different between mdrl-deficient animals and controls. Overall mean (+/- SEM, N = 8) values were: Vmax, 0.74+/-0.05 nmol/min/mg protein; Km, 28.2+/-2.7 microM; and estimated intrinsic clearance, 0.026+/-0.003 mL/min/mg protein. Likewise, rates of formation of alpha-OH- and 4-OH-TRZ (from 500 microM TRZ), and of DEX metabolites sensitive to ketoconazole inhibition, M1 and M5 (from 20 microM DEX), did not differ between mdrl-deficient and control animals. Immunoquantified microsomal CYP3A protein levels in mdrla(-/-), mdrla/b(-/-), and mdrla/b(+/+) mice were not different, with overall mean immunoreactive protein levels of 2.68+/-0.09 pmol/microg protein. Although CYP3A and P-gp share aspects of activity and expression, disruption of the mdrl genes does not affect CYP3A-mediated metabolism or protein expression in the mouse.