Changes in cytochrome P450 gene expression and enzyme activity induced by xenobiotics in rabbits in vivo and in vitro


  • Orsolya Palócz University of Veterinary Medicine
  • Orsolya Farkas University of Veterinary Medicine
  • Paul Clayton Institute for Food, Brain and Behaviour
  • György Csikó University of Veterinary Medicine



CYP450, hepatocyte, ketoconazole, luminescence, rabbit


As considerable inter-species differences exist in xenobiotic metabolism, developing new pharmaceutical therapies for use in different species is fraught with difficulties. For this reason, very few medicines have been registered for use in rabbits, despite their importance in inter alia meat and fur production. We have developed a rapid and sensitive screening system for drug safety in rabbits based on cytochrome P450 enzyme assays, specifically CYP1A1, CYP1A2 and CYP3A6, employing an adaptation of the luciferin-based clinical assay currently used in human drug screening. Short-term (4-h) cultured rabbit primary hepatocytes were treated with a cytochrome inducer (phenobarbital) and 2 inhibitors (alpha-naphthoflavone and ketoconazole). In parallel, and to provide verification, New Zealand white rabbits were dosed with 80 mg/kg phenobarbital or 40 mg/kg ketoconazole for 3 d. Ketoconazole significantly increased CYP3A6 gene expression and decreased CYP3A6 activity both in vitro and in vivo. CYP1A1 activity was decreased by ketoconazole in vitro and increased in vivo. This is the first report of the inducer effect of ketoconazole on rabbit cytochrome isoenzymes in vivo. Our data support the use of a luciferin-based assay in short-term primary hepatocytes as an appropriate tool for xenobiotic metabolism assays and short-term toxicity testing in rabbits.



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Author Biographies

Orsolya Palócz, University of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Orsolya Farkas, University of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

György Csikó, University of Veterinary Medicine

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology


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