The effect of dimethyl sulfoxide on the function of cytochrome P450 2D6 in HepG2 cells upon the co-expression with NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase

Shizuo Narimatsu, Noriko Takatsu, Shigeru Yamano, Yusuke Inoue, Nobumitsu Hanioka, Kimio Kiryu, Shinsaku Naito, Frank J. Gonzalez, Shigeo Yamamoto

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HepG2 cells, a human hepatoma cell line, stably expressing NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (OR) and/or cytochrome P450 2D6 wild-type (CYP2D6-WT) or its variants (Pro34Ser, Gly42Arg, Arg296Cys and Ser486Thr) were established in the present study. The cultivation of HepG2 cells expressing CYP2D6-WT in the culture medium containing dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO, 0.1% of final concentration) markedly increased the bufuralol (BF) 1″-hydroxylase activity compared with that of control cells when cultivated without DMSO. A similar effect was also observed in HepG2 cells stably expressing CYP2D6 and OR. The addition of hemin in place of DMSO to the culture medium resulted in no increase in the enzyme activity. Western blot analysis revealed that the levels of CYP2D6 protein were similar between DMSO-treated and non-treated HepG2 cells regardless of OR expression. Spectrophotometric analysis of reduced carbon monoxide-difference spectra of HepG2 cells expressing CYP2D6-WT and/or OR demonstrated that the addition of DMSO increased the peak height of functional CYP2D6 at 450 nm. These results suggest that the increase in CYP2D6 activity is attributable to the radical-scavenging effect of DMSO. The HepG2 cell lines stably expressing OR and CYP2D6 or its variants in combination with DMSO treatment may be useful for screening the cytotoxicity of chemical compounds which undergo oxidation by CYP2D6.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 5 2006



  • Bufuralol
  • CYP2D6
  • Dimethyl sulfoxide
  • HepG2 cell line
  • NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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