AA (arachidonic acid) hydroxylation to 20-HETE (20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid) influences renal vascular and tubular function. To identify the CYP (cytochrome P450) isoforms catalysing this reaction in the mouse kidney, we analysed the substrate specificity of Cyp4a10, 4a12a, 4a12b and 4a14 and determined sex- and strain-specific expressions. All recombinant enzymes showed high lauric acid hydroxylase activities. Cyp4a12a and Cyp4a12b efficiently hydroxylated AA to 20-HETE with Vmax values of approx. 10 nmol·nmol−1·min−1 and Km values of 20–40 μM. 20-Carboxyeicosatetraenoic acid occurred as a secondary metabolite. AA hydroxylase activities were approx. 25–75-fold lower with Cyp4a10 and not detectable with Cyp4a14. Cyp4a12a and Cyp4a12b also efficiently converted EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) into 19/20-OH- and 17,18-epoxy-EPA. In male mice, renal microsomal AA hydroxylase activities ranged between approx. 100 (NMRI), 45–55 (FVB/N, 129 Sv/J and Balb/c) and 25 pmol·min−1·mg−1 (C57BL/6). The activities correlated with differences in Cyp4a12a protein and mRNA levels. Treatment with 5α-dihydrotestosterone induced both 20-HETE production and Cyp4a12a expression more than 4-fold in male C57BL/6 mice. All female mice showed low AA hydroxylase activities (15–25 pmol·min−1·mg−1) and very low Cyp4a12a mRNA and protein levels, but high Cyp4a10 and Cyp4a14 expression. Renal Cyp4a12b mRNA expression was almost undetectable in both sexes of all strains. Thus Cyp4a12a is the predominant 20-HETE synthase in the mouse kidney. Cyp4a12a expression determines the sex- and strain-specific differences in 20-HETE generation and may explain sex and strain differences in the susceptibility to hypertension and target organ damage.

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