Ontogenetic variation in rat liver, lung and kidney monooxygenase induction by low doses of benzo(A)pyrene and cigarette-smoke condensate

Br J Cancer. 1981 Dec;44(6):902-10. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1981.290.


The specific lung-AHH induction, which we previously observed after the inhalation of cigarette smoke, is not due to the route followed by the inhaled smoke, for the same phenomenon occurs after i.p. injection of either cigarette smoke condensate (CSC) or benzo(a)pyrene in low doses. In this respect lung AHH behaves completely differently from the liver and kidney enzyme, in which organs, basal AHH activity (which is low in the foetus) increases rapidly after birth to reach the adult level 2 months later, and is only inducible by CSC and low doses of BP in unweaned rats. In the lung, the basal AHH activity (low in the foetus) increases abruptly at birth, peaks in 5-day-old rats and then decreases slightly. Contrary to enzyme activity in other tissues, lung AHH cannot be induced in unweaned young animals. The enzyme subsequently becomes sensitive to inducing agents and is highly inducible in 90-day-old rats. Similar behaviour occurs in 2 other enzymes linked to cytochrome P1450: ethoxycoumarin deethylase and ethoxyresorufin deethylase. The results could be related to the particular susceptibility of the lung to develop cancer after the inhalation of cigarette smoke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 7-Alkoxycoumarin O-Dealkylase
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases / metabolism*
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Benzopyrenes / pharmacology*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Lung / enzymology
  • Male
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Oxygenases / metabolism
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Smoke*
  • Tobacco


  • Benzopyrenes
  • Carcinogens
  • Smoke
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Oxygenases
  • 7-Alkoxycoumarin O-Dealkylase
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1