Mechanisms that regulate production of reactive oxygen species by cytochrome P450

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2004 Sep 15;199(3):316-31. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2004.01.018.


Mammalian cytochromes P450 (P450) are a family of heme-thiolate enzymes involved in the oxidative metabolism of a variety of endogenous and exogenous lipophilic compounds. Poor coupling of the P450 catalytic cycle results in continuous production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which affects signaling pathways and other cellular functions. P450 generation of ROS is tightly controlled by regulation of gene transcription as well as by modulation of interactions between protein constituents of the monooxygenase that affects its activity, coupling, and stability. Malfunction of these mechanisms may result in a burst of ROS production, which can cause lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress. In turn, oxidative stress downregulates P450 levels by a variety of feedback mechanisms. This review provides an overview of recent advances in our understanding of these feedback mechanisms that serve to limit P450 production of ROS. Some of the more likely physiological and cellular effects of P450 generation of ROS are also discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / physiology
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Mixed Function Oxygenases