Cytochrome P450 omega hydroxylase (CYP4) function in fatty acid metabolism and metabolic diseases

Biochem Pharmacol. 2008 Jun 15;75(12):2263-75. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2008.03.004. Epub 2008 Mar 15.


The cytochrome P450 gene 4 family (CYP4) consists of a group of over 63 members that omega-hydroxylate the terminal carbon of fatty acids. In mammals, six subfamilies have been identified and three of these subfamily members show a preference in the metabolism of short (C7-C10)-CYP4B, medium (C10-C16)-CYP4A, and long (C16-C26)-CYP4F, saturated, unsaturated and branched chain fatty acids. These omega-hydroxylated fatty acids are converted to dicarboxylic acids, which are preferentially metabolized by the peroxisome beta-oxidation system to shorter chain fatty acids that are transported to the mitochondria for complete oxidation or used either to supply energy for peripheral tissues during starvation or in lipid synthesis. The differential regulation of the CYP4A and CYP4F genes during fasting, by peroxisome proliferators and in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) suggests different roles in lipid metabolism. The omega-hydroxylation and inactivation of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids by members of the CYP4F subfamily and the association of the CYP4F2 and CYP4F3 genes with inflammatory celiac disease indicate an important role in the resolution of inflammation. Several human diseases have been genetically linked to the expression CYP4 gene polymorphic variants, which may link human susceptibility to diseases of lipid metabolism and the activation and resolution phases of inflammation. Understanding how the CYP4 genes are regulated during the fasting and feeding cycles and by endogenous lipids will provide therapeutic avenues in the treatment of metabolic disorders of lipid metabolism and inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A / physiology
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System* / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System* / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System* / physiology
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / enzymology
  • Metabolic Diseases / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP4A