Renal microsomal cytochrome P-450-dependent arachidonic acid metabolism was correlated with the level of cytochrome P-450 in the rabbit kidney. Cobalt, an inducer of haem oxygenase, reduced cytochrome P-450 in both the cortex and medulla in association with a 2-fold decrease in aryl-hydrocarbon hydroxylase, an index of cytochrome P-450 activity, and a similar decrease in the formation of cytochrome P-450-dependent arachidonic acid metabolites by renal microsomes (microsomal fractions). Formation of the latter was absolutely dependent on NADPH addition and was prevented by SKF-525A, an inhibitor of cytochrome P-450-dependent enzymes. Arachidonate metabolites of cortical microsomes were identified by g.c.-m.s. as 20- and 19-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, 11,12-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid and 11,12-dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acid. The profile of arachidonic acid metabolites was the same for the medullary microsomes. Induction of cytochrome P-450 by 3-methylcholanthrene and beta-naphthoflavone increased cytochrome P-450 content and aryl-hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity by 2-fold in the cortex and medulla, and this correlated with a 2-fold increase in arachidonic acid metabolites via the cytochrome P-450 pathway. These changes can also be demonstrated in cells isolated from the medullary segment of the thick ascending limb of the loop of Henle, which previously have been shown to metabolize arachidonic acid specifically via the cytochrome P-450-dependent pathway. The specific activity for the formation of arachidonic acid metabolites by this pathway is higher in the kidney than in the liver, the highest activity being in the outer medulla, namely 7.9 microgram as against 2.5 micrograms of arachidonic acid transformed/30 min per nmol of cytochrome P-450 for microsomes obtained from outer medulla and liver respectively. These findings are consistent with high levels of cytochrome P-450 isoenzyme(s), specific for arachidonic acid metabolism, primarily localized in the outer medulla.

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