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Induction of the Hepatic Cytochrome P450 2B Subfamily by Xenobiotics: Research History, Evolutionary Aspect, Relation to Tumorigenesis, and Mechanism

[ Vol. 7 , Issue. 4 ]


Hideyuki Yamada, Yuji Ishii, Midori Yamamoto and Kazuta Oguri   Pages 397 - 409 ( 13 )


The cytochrome P450 belonging to the CYP2B subfamily has long been of great interest because it can be induced by xenobiotics. While a well known diagnostic ligand-receptor theory explains the induction of the CYP1A subfamily, the mechanism by which xenobiotics induce the CYP2B subfamily is not fully understood. Although the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) undoubtedly plays a crucial role in the induction, many questions regarding the mechanism of CAR activation by xenobiotics have not yet been answered. It is a puzzle that many structurally-unrelated chemicals can increase the expression of the CYP2B subfamily. This may support a mechanism(s) distinct from the signaling induced by ligand-receptor binding. Indeed, phenobarbital, a typical inducer, cannot associate with CAR. Thus, no one is able to answer a fundamental question: what is the initial target of xenobiotics to produce induced expression of CYP2B enzymes? In this review, we survey the research history of CYP2B induction, list the inducers reported so far, and discuss the mechanism of induction including the target site of inducers.


CYP2B, phenobarbital, induction, regulation, liver


Graduate School of PharmaceuticalSciences, Kyushu University, 3-1-1 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka812-8582, Japan.

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