Reverse transcriptase-PCR quantification of mRNA levels from cytochrome (CYP)1, CYP2 and CYP3 families in 22 different human tissues

Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2007 Sep;17(9):731-42. doi: 10.1097/FPC.0b013e32810f2e58.


Objective: The aim of this work was to study simultaneously the expression profile of the 23 CYP mRNAs of CYP1, CTP2 and CYP3 families in 22 different human tissues namely adrenal gland, bladder, bone marrow, colon, fetal liver, heart, kidney, liver, lung, mammary gland, ovary, placenta, prostate, salivary gland, skeletal muscle, small intestine, spleen, testis, thymus, thyroid, trachea and uterus.

Methods: Analysis of the mRNA levels of each of these CYP isoforms was performed on total RNA from pooled specimens of human organs using reverse transcriptase-PCR-based CYP mRNA assays previously validated for their sensitivity and their specificity.

Results: Our results confirmed previously reported data in the literature concerning isoforms expression in the most currently studied tissues. Moreover, they provided a great deal of new information, mainly about the expression of mRNA of little-known CYP isoforms. Among the 23 CYP isoforms studied, 12 were mainly hepatic (CYP1A2, 2A6, 2A7, 2A13, 2C8, 2C9, 2C18, 2C19, 2D6, 2E1, 3A4 and 3A43). Two CYP mRNAs were predominantly expressed in several extrahepatic tissues: CYP1B1 mRNA was the predominant CYP in seven extrahepatic tissues (bone marrow, kidney, mammary gland, prostate, spleen, thyroid and uterus) and CYP2J2 in four extrahepatic tissues (heart, placenta, salivary gland and skeletal muscle). Finally, some CYPs were nearly exclusively expressed in only one extrahepatic tissue. CYP2R1 was found in testis, CYP2U1 in the thymus and CYP2F1 in the respiratory tract (lung and trachea).

Conclusion: This description will broaden the understanding of the physiological functions of these CYPs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / classification
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochromes / classification
  • Cytochromes / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Cytochromes
  • Isoenzymes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System