Drug metabolic enzymes in developmental toxicology

Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1996 Dec;34(2):165-75. doi: 10.1006/faat.1996.0187.


Although much is known about the metabolism of environmental toxicants in adult organisms, little information exists on the role of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes during development. The developing organism is remarkably dynamic, presenting a constantly changing metabolic profile as various enzyme systems are activated or repressed. This may explain the markedly different sensitivities to various toxicants that are exhibited throughout the developmental period. The application of molecular biological methods has provided important information on the roles of these enzymes in modulating the response of the developing organism to toxicological exposures. The first talk will focus on the identification and role of CYPs during early organogenesis, particularly on how these enzymes influence the response of the conceptus and early embryo to toxic chemicals. The second presentation will discuss the identification of CYPs expressed during human development, as many of the enzymes present in adults are not expressed in the fetus. The third speaker will discuss the developmental consequences of loss of expression of particular metabolic enzymes, focusing on recent studies employing knockout mice to examine the role of drug metabolic enzymes during development. The last two talks will discuss some of the short- and long-term consequences of in utero exposures to toxic chemicals and the role of CYP in modulating the toxic response of the developing organism. The first of these will focus on the role of CYP2E1 in human fetuses during late gestation and the response of this enzyme to inducing agents such as alcohol. The last talk will discuss the role of CYP1A1 in the activation of the Ki-ras oncogene following in utero exposure to carcinogens as a mechanism for lung tumor formation in a pharmacogenetic mouse model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Teratogens / toxicity*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Teratogens
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System