Metabolism of retinol and retinoic acid by human liver cytochrome P450IIC8

Arch Biochem Biophys. 1989 Feb 15;269(1):305-12. doi: 10.1016/0003-9861(89)90112-4.


Liver microsomes obtained from nine subjects were found to metabolize retinol to polar metabolites, including 4-hydroxyretinol. In a reconstituted monooxygenase system containing human liver P450IIC8, retinol was converted to 4-hydroxyretinol and other polar metabolites, with a Km of 0.071 mM and a Vmax of 1.73 nmol/min/nmol P450. Neither P450IIC9 nor P450IIE1, two other purified human P450s, displayed significant retinol hydroxylase activity. Immunoblots performed with a monospecific antibody directed against human P450IIC8 revealed that appreciable amounts of this enzyme were present in human liver microsomes. The same antibody significantly inhibited retinol metabolism in liver microsomes and in the system reconstituted with P450IIC8. The system reconstituted with P450IIC8 also converted retinoic acid to polar metabolites. Thus, this study shows, for the first time, metabolism of two physiologic substrates by a human liver cytochrome P450 related to a group of "constitutive" rodent P450s believed to participate in the metabolism of endogenous compounds. Through its involvement in vitamin A metabolism, P450IIC8 may participate in maintaining the balance between those vitamin A concentrations that promote cellular integrity (and oppose the development of cancer) and those concentrations that cause cellular toxicity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Catalysis
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology*
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Rabbits
  • Tretinoin / metabolism*
  • Vitamin A / metabolism*


  • Vitamin A
  • Tretinoin
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System