Cytochrome P450 (P450) content and P450-mediated mono-oxygenase activities were measured in microsomes prepared from various regions of rat brain. The regional P450 content in brain varied between 0.1 and 0.15 nmol/mg of protein, with the brainstem and cerebellum showing the highest levels. NADPH cytochrome c reductase activity was highest in the cortex followed by cerebellum and brainstem as compared with the whole brain. Mono-oxygenase activities also varied among the various brain regions. Southern blot analysis of the cDNA synthesized from the poly(A)RNA isolated from rat brain regions and hybridized with cDNA to rat liver P4502B or P4502E1 revealed the presence of a transcript in untreated rat brain that had a molecular mass similar to that of the corresponding transcript from rat liver. Immunoblot analyses using antisera to purified rat liver P4502E1, P450(2B1/2B2), and a phenobarbital-inducible form of rat brain P450 revealed the presence of corresponding immunoreactive protein bands in all the brain regions examined. The present study demonstrated the diversity in the distribution of P450 and associated mono-oxygenase activities in brain and thus may reflect the differential capability of various regions of the brain to detoxify or bioactivate diverse xenobiotics.