Spatial distribution of CYP2B1/2 messenger RNA within the rat liver acinus following exposure to the inducers phenobarbital and dieldrin

Mary B. Dail, Shane C. Burgess, Edward C. Meek, Jennifer Wagner, Jeffrey Baravik, Janice E. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Traditionally, the liver has been considered a homogeneous organ, but literature suggests that the cytochromes P450 are differentially distributed among the hepatocytes and that the pattern of this distribution is altered by various xenobiotics. In this study, the CYP2B1/2 messenger RNA (mRNA) in the hepatocytes was compared following treatment of rats with either of two inducers, phenobarbital (PB), or dieldrin. Adult male Sprague-Dawley-derived rats were treated with either ip PB in saline at 80 mg/kg/day for 5 days or dieldrin in corn oil by oral gavage at 2.5 mg/kg/day for 13 days. Control rats received ip saline or po corn oil for the same time. Laser capture microdissection (LCM) followed by duplex quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR was used to measure the CYP2B1/2 mRNA produced in bands of hepatocytes isolated from three locations along the sinusoidal path. The amounts of mRNA present in whole liver subsamples were also analyzed. CYP2B1/2 enzyme activity was determined by assaying 16β-hydroxytestosterone formation. Whole liver mRNA samples exhibited significant induction in CYP2B1/2 transcript levels: sixfold for PB and 2200-fold for dieldrin. All the LCM band samples also showed significant fold induction in CYP2B1/2 mRNA compared to controls. Dieldrin caused marked increases in CYP2B1/2 mRNA levels in the direction of blood flow through the acinus: periportal, 300-fold; midzonal, 600-fold; and centrilobular, 1700-fold. A different pattern of induction was observed in the PB-treated rats: periportal, 1800-fold; midzonal, 8800-fold; and centrilobular, 1600-fold. The present study indicates the differences in spatial responses that can be exhibited within the liver following exposure to various xenobiotics. It also indicates the importance of examining xenobiotic metabolism in the liver in light of its nonhomogeneous, zoned microenvironment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • CYP2B1/2
  • CYP2B1/2 mRNA
  • Cytochrome P450 induction
  • Dieldrin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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