AIMS: To study the expression of CYP1B1 in a variety of human and rat cell lines as a means of identifying a new tool for the investigation of gene regulation. In addition, to identify the expression of cytochrome P450 1B1 (CYP1B1) in different regions of the central nervous system (CNS). METHODS: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction followed by cloning and sequencing were used to detect the expression of CYP1B1 in human cell lines. Poly A+ mRNA from the human spinal cord and from different brain regions was analysed using a CYP1B1 probe labelled with 32PdCTP. RESULTS: Expression of CYP1B1 was shown in a human astrocytoma cell line (MOG-G-CCM). CYP1B1 mRNA was expressed in a variety of regions of the CNS but with a distinct regional specificity. Expression was highest in the putamen. CONCLUSIONS: The expression of CYP1B1 in a human astrocytoma enables this cell line to be used in further studies of regulation and function of this gene. The demonstration that CYP1B1 mRNA is expressed in a variety of regions of the CNS suggests a role for this gene in brain and spinal cord metabolism. The regional specificity of expression might explain the focal damage of certain human neurodegenerative diseases.
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