In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analysis of cytochrome P450 1B1 expression in human normal tissues

J Histochem Cytochem. 2001 Feb;49(2):229-36. doi: 10.1177/002215540104900210.


Cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) is a recently cloned dioxin-inducible form of the cytochrome P450 supergene family of xenobiotic-metabolizing enzymes. CYP1B1 is constitutively expressed mainly in extrahepatic tissues and is inducible by aryl hydrocarbon receptor ligands. Human CYP1B1 is involved in activation of chemically diverse human procarcinogens, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and some aromatic amines, as well as the endogenous hormone 17 beta-estradiol. The metabolism of 17 beta-estradiol by CYP1B1 forms 4-hydroxyestradiol, a product believed to be important in estrogen-induced carcinogenesis. Although the distribution of CYP1B1 mRNA and protein in a number of human normal tissues has been well documented, neither the cells expressing CYP1B1 in individual tissue nor the intracellular localization of the enzyme has been thoroughly characterized. In this study, using nonradioactive in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, we examined the cellular localization of CYP1B1 mRNA and protein in a range of human normal tissues. CYP1B1 mRNA and protein were expressed in most samples of parenchymal and stromal tissue from brain, kidney, prostate, breast, cervix, uterus, ovary, and lymph nodes. In most tissues, CYP1B1 immunostaining was nuclear. However, in tubule cells of kidney and secretory cells of mammary gland, immunoreactivity for CYP1B1 protein was found in both nucleus and cytoplasm. This study demonstrates for the first time the nuclear localization of CYP1B1 protein. Moreover, the constitutive expression and wide distribution of CYP1B1 mRNA and protein in many human normal tissues suggest functional roles for CYP1B1 in the bioactivation of xenobiotic procarcinogens and endogenous substrates such as estrogens. (J Histochem Cytochem 49:229-236, 2001)

MeSH terms

  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / enzymology
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Organ Specificity
  • Stromal Cells / enzymology
  • Stromal Cells / ultrastructure


  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • CYP1B1 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1