Ethanol Induction of CYP2A5: Permissive Role for CYP2E1

Document Type


Publication Date



CYP2A5 metabolizes xenobiotics and activates hepatocarcinogens, and induction occurs in response to hepatic damage and cellular stress. We evaluated whether ethanol can elevate CYP2A5 and whether CYP2E1 plays a role in the ethanol induction of CYP2A5. Wild-type (WT), CYP2E1 knockout (KO), and CYP2E1 knockin (KI) mice were fed ethanol for 3 weeks. Ethanol increased CYP2E1 and CYP2A5 protein and activity in WT mice but not in the KO mice. Induction of CYP2A5 (and CYP2E1) was restored in the KI mice. Ethanol induction of CYP2A5 occurred only after CYP2E1 was first induced. Immunohistochemical staining revealed that CYP2E1 and CYP2A5 colocalize to the same zones in the liver. Ethanol also elevated CYP2A5 mRNA levels in WT and KI mice but not in KO mice. Induction of CYP2A5 by cadmium was partially decreased in KO mice compared with WT or KI mice. Ethanol elevated CYP2A4 mRNA levels in all mice although the extent of induction was lowest in the KO mice. In summary, ethanol elevated mouse hepatic CYP2A5 levels, which may be of toxicological significance because CYP2A5 metabolizes nicotine and other drugs and activates hepatocarcinogens. Induction of CYP2A5 by ethanol is potentiated by the induction of CYP2E1. We speculate that ethanol induction of CYP2E1 followed by increases in reactive oxygen species and activation of Nrf2 are important steps in the mechanism by which ethanol induces CYP2A5. The possibility that induction of CYP2E1 is permissive for the induction of CYP2A5 may reflect a new contribution by CYP2E1 to the actions of ethanol.


Copyright © 2011 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.