Ring hydroxylation of [o-3H]methoxychlor as a probe for liver microsomal CYP2B activity: potential for in vivo CYP2B assay

Anal Biochem. 1996 Jan 1;233(1):100-7. doi: 10.1006/abio.1996.0013.


An in vitro radiometric assay selective for inducible CYP2B activity is described. The assay is based on the quantification of 3H2O release that occurs during o-ring hydroxylation of [o-3H]methoxychlor by liver microsomes in the presence of NADPH. 3H2O is isolated by removing > 99.9% of the parent compound and organic metabolites by facile charcoal extraction and filtration. There was no evidence for an NIH shift during ring hydroxylation, and there was little or no isotope effect. Selectivity for CYP2B was demonstrated using liver microsomes prepared from rats and mice treated with inducers of different CYP isoforms. Ring hydroxylation of [o-3H]methoxychlor was elevated 11.4-fold over control values in liver microsomes from male rats treated with phenobarbital. With mice, phenobarbital treatment elevated liver microsomal ring hydroxylation 7.1-fold. Clofibrate, 3-methylcholanthrene, or beta-naphthoflavone treatment of male rats or pyridine treatment of female rats did not elevate liver microsomal ring-hydroxylase activity, indicating that CYP4A, 1A, and 2E1 do not support this reaction. In female rats, dexamethasone and pregnenolone-16 alpha-carbonitrile treatment elevated ring hydroxylation up to 5.5- and 3.2-fold, respectively, an activity that may be attributed to CYP2B induction in those animals. Incubation of liver microsomes from phenobarbital-treated males with monospecific anti-CYP2B monoclonal antibodies (Mab) inhibited ring-hydroxylase activity up to 86%, demonstrating predominantly CYP2B-mediated catalysis. An 86% inhibition by these Mabs was also observed using liver microsomes from male mice treated with phenobarbital, indicating the assay is not limited to rats. The CYP2B mechanism-based inhibitor orphenadrine caused a 76% decline in activity, providing further evidence for CYP2B involvement. Unlike other CYP2B-selective assays, this method may be readily adapted to in vivo studies, by measuring urinary excretion of 3H2O as an indication of total body CYP2B activity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / analysis*
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / biosynthesis
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Hydroxylation
  • Male
  • Methoxychlor / chemistry*
  • Mice
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology*
  • Molecular Probes
  • Molecular Structure
  • Radiometry / methods*
  • Rats
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / analysis*
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / biosynthesis
  • Steroid Hydroxylases / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Tritium


  • Molecular Probes
  • Tritium
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Steroid Hydroxylases
  • Aryl Hydrocarbon Hydroxylases
  • steroid 16-beta-hydroxylase
  • Methoxychlor