Porcine foetal and neonatal CYP3A liver expression

  • Marie Louise Hiort Hermann Faculty of Life Sciences University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Mette Tingleff Skaanild | mts@life.ku.dk Faculty of Life Sciences University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Human cytochrome P450 3A7 (CYP3A7) and cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) are hepatic metabolising enzymes which participates in the biotransformation of endo- and exogenous substances in foetuses and neonates respectively. These CYP3A enzymes display an inverse relationship: CYP3A7 is the dominant enzyme in the foetal liver, whereas the expression of CYP3A4 is low. After parturition there is a shift in the expression, thus CYP3A7 is down regulated, while the level of CYP3A4 gradually increases and becomes the dominant metabolising CYP3A enzyme in the adult. The minipig is increasingly being used as a model for humans in biomedical studies, because of its many similarities with the human physiology and anatomy. The aim of this study was to examine whether, as in humans, a shift is seen in the hepatic expression of a CYP3A7- like enzyme to cytochrome P450 3A29 (CYP3A29) (an orthologue to the human CYP3A4) in minipigs. This was elucidated by examining the hepatic mRNA expression of CYP3A7 and CYP3A29 in 39 foetuses and newborn Göttingen minipigs using quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Furthermore the immunochemical level of CYP3A7-LE and CYP3A29 was measured in liver microsomes using western blotting. The expression of CYP3A29 was approximately 9- fold greater in neonates compared to foetuses, and a similar difference was reflected on the immunochemical level. It was not possible to detect a significant level of foetal CYP3A7 mRNA, but immunoblotting showed a visible difference depending on age. This study demonstrates an increase in the expression of CYP3A29, the CYP3A4 orthologue in perinatal minipigs as in humans, which suggests that the minipig could be a good model when testing for human foetal toxicity towards CYP3A4 substrates.



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Author Biographies

Marie Louise Hiort Hermann, Faculty of Life Sciences University of Copenhagen

Department of Veterinary Disease Biology


Mette Tingleff Skaanild, Faculty of Life Sciences University of Copenhagen

Department of Veterinay Disease Biology

Associate Professor



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Original Articles
minipig, liver, CYP3A7, CYP3A29, neonate, foetus.
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How to Cite
Hermann, M. L. H., & Skaanild, M. T. (2011). Porcine foetal and neonatal CYP3A liver expression. Journal of Xenobiotics, 1(1), e1. https://doi.org/10.4081/xeno.2011.e1