The role of estrogen in the expression and induction of hepatic Cyp2b and Cyp3a isoforms was studied using mice [Ar (-/-) mice] lacking aromatase, a key enzyme for estrogen biosynthesis. The expression of P450s was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, immunoblotting, and measuring testosterone 6beta- and 16alpha-hydroxylase activity as markers. Basic expression of Cyp3a11 mRNA and protein was seen in both sexes of Ar (+/+) mice. Disruption of the aromatase gene caused an increase in the expression of Cyp3a11 protein, although the mRNA level remained unchanged. Female-specific Cyp3a41 disappeared in Ar (-/-) mice, and this could not be reversed by administration of exogenous beta-estradiol to adult knockout mice. The constitutive expression of female-specific Cyp2b9 also disappeared on disrupting the aromatase gene. However, in clear contrast to Cyp3a41, some individual Ar (-/-) mice exhibited expression of this form following treatment with exogenous beta-estradiol. Disruption of the aromatase gene had no effect on PB-mediated induction of Cyp2b10 or on the noninducible nature of Cyp2b9, Cyp3a11, and Cyp3a41. These results suggest that (1) Cyp3a11 is suppressed by estrogen; (2) the expression of female-specific Cyp3a41 is programmed by neonatal and/or infantile exposure to estrogen; (3) maintenance of the expression of female-specific Cyp2b9 requires estrogen in adults; and (4) endogenous estrogen plays little, if any, role in the mechanism by which PB induces Cyp2b10.
(c)2002 Elsevier Science (USA).