Cytochromes P450 involved with benzene metabolism in hepatic and pulmonary microsomes

J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2000;14(6):303-9. doi: 10.1002/1099-0461(2000)14:6<303::AID-JBT2>3.0.CO;2-8.


Benzene is an occupational hazard and environmental toxicant found in cigarette smoke, gasoline, and the chemical industry. The major health concern associated with benzene exposure is leukemia. The toxic effects of benzene are dependent on its metabolism by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system. Previous research has identified CYP2E1 as the primary P450 isozyme responsible for benzene metabolism at low concentrations, whereas CYP2B1 is involved at higher concentrations. Our studies using microsomal preparations from human, mouse, and rat indicate that CYP2E1 is the P450 isozyme primarily responsible for benzene metabolism in lung and in liver. CYP2B isozymes have little involvement in benzene metabolism by either lung or liver. Our results also indicate that isozymes of the CYP2F subfamily may play a role in benzene metabolism by lung.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Benzene / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biotransformation
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B1 / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism*
  • Ditiocarb / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microsomes / drug effects
  • Microsomes / metabolism*
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism*
  • Middle Aged
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • United States
  • White People


  • Triazoles
  • alpha-methylbenzylaminobenzotriazole
  • Ditiocarb
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2B1
  • Benzene