Background: Anti-cytochrome P-450 autoantibodies are present in several forms of autoimmune hepatitis. The possibility that cytochromes P-450 are present in the plasma membrane of human hepatocytes was examined.
Methods: (1) Plasma membranes with microsomal contamination < 1%, as judged from the activities of glucose-6-phosphatase and NADH-cytochrome c reductase, were prepared. (2) After exposure of uncut, fixed hepatocytes to antibodies, immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase studies were performed.
Results: (1) The specific content of cytochrome P-450 in plasma membrane was 9% of that in microsomes. Plasma membranes showed NADPH-cytochrome c reductase and mono-oxygenase activities; immunoblots showed the presence of cytochromes P-450 1A2, 2C, 2D6, 2E1, and 3A4; cytochromes P-450 1A2, 2D6, and 2C were also recognized by anti-liver microsome and anti-liver/kidney microsome type 1 and type 2 autoantibodies, respectively. (2) Immunofluorescence and immunoperoxidase labeling of the plasma membrane was observed with the three auto-antibodies and with anti-cytochrome P-450 1A2, 2C, 2E1, or 3A4.
Conclusions: It is concluded that cytochromes P-450 are present and functional in the plasma membrane of human hepatocytes and that anti-cytochrome P-450 autoantibodies recognize epitopes expressed on the outer surface.