Cytochrome P-450 containing enzymes, known to be present in the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, catalyze the oxidation of various compounds. In this study we have used highly purified peroxisomes (> 95%) to provide evidence by analytical cell fractionation, enzyme activity, Western blot, and immunocytochemical analysis that cytochrome P-450 2E1 (Cyp 2E1) is present in peroxisomes. Similar specific activities of aniline hydroxylase, a Cyp 2E1-dependent enzyme, in purified peroxisomes (0.72 +/- 0.03 nmol/min/mg protein) and microsomes (0.58 +/- 0.03 nmol/min/mg protein) supports the conclusion that peroxisomes contain significant amount of Cyp 2E1. This peroxisomal Cyp 2E1 was also induced in acetone-treated rat liver. The status of microsomal and peroxisomal Cyp 2E1 was also examined following ischemia/reperfusion-induced oxidative stress. Ischemia alone had no effect; however, reperfusion following ischemia resulted in decrease in Cyp 2E1 both in microsomes and peroxisomes. This demonstration of cytochrome P-450 2E1 in peroxisomes and its downregulation during ischemia/reperfusion describes a new role for this organelle in cytochrome P-450 related cellular metabolism and in oxidative stress induced disease conditions.