The effects of the cytochrome P-450 depletion by cobaltic protoporphyrin IX on the postnatal glucocorticoid-inducibility of the membrane-bound enzyme gamma-glutamyltransferase have been assessed in the rat liver. Dexamethasone-induced gamma-glutamyltransferase activity in 14-, 28- and 77-day-old rats was high, weak and absent, respectively, and inversely correlated with the physiological cytochrome P-450 activity. In the liver acinus, the enzyme was reexpressed by the zone 1 and zone 2 hepatocytes in suckling rats, substantially only by the zone 1-hepatocytes in just weaned rats. Following cytochrome P-450 depletion, gamma-glutamyltransferase induction by dexamethasone was more rapid, more intense and more extended in the liver, acinus, occurring also in the zone 3 hepatocytes in suckling rats, in the zone 2 and a few zone 3 hepatocytes in just weaned rats. Further, the enzyme induction occurred also in adult rats in the zone 1 and in some zone 2 cells. This shows that cytochrome P-450 modulates the extent of hepatic gamma-glutamyltransferase induction by dexamethasone in postnatal rat-hepatocytes. The phenomenon may be consequent on hormone biotransformation changes caused by the cytochrome P-450 depletion.

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