Cytochrome P450 4F12 (CYP4F12) was originally cloned from human liver and small intestine. CYP4F12 can oxidize arachidonic acid, two stable prostaglandin H2 analogues, and an antihistamine, ebastine, but the tissue distribution and catalytic properties of CYP4F12 have not been fully investigated. An antipeptide polyclonal antibody was raised against the C-terminal of CYP4F12 (PLNVGLQ), evaluated by Western blot analysis and used for immunohistological analysis of 50 human tissues. Western blot analysis of recombinant CYP4F12, expressed in yeast, and microsomal proteins from adult and foetal liver, kidney, placenta at term, seminal vesicles, the prostate gland and purified prostasomes showed that the polyclonal antibody detected a protein of the expected size, approximately 60 kDa. CYP4F12 mRNA could be detected in seminal vesicles and prostate gland by reverse transcription-PCR. Prominent CYP4F12 immunoreactivity occurred, inter alia, in the epithelial cells of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach, small intestine, and colon), collecting tubules, transitional epithelium, ovarian follicles, the endothelium of microvessels of placental villi (first trimester), and epidermis. We screened recombinant CYP4F12 for catalytic activity. Arachidonic acid (20:4n-6) was hydroxylated at C18 and laurate at C11, but significant amounts of metabolites of 18:2n-6, 20:3n-9, 20:5n-3, 22:5n-6, and some prostaglandins could not be detected. We conclude that CYP4F12 is widely distributed in gastrointestinal and urogenital epithelia and exhibits a narrow substrate specificity.