1. The effect of feeding with a diet containing 0.2% (w/w) hexachlorobenzene on hepatic and urinary porphyrins and hepatic cytochrome P-450 was studied at various time intervals in female Wistar rats.
2. Hexachlorobenzene administration for 45 days resulted in the development of porphyria in rats, which biochemically closely resembles symptomatic porphyria in humans, with elevation of urinary uroporphyrin excretion, hepatic uroporphyrin content, and hepatic cytochrome P-450 content, in addition to appearance of porphyrins of the isocoproporphyrin (P1) series in the faeces.
3. Spectral studies of the induced hepatic cytochrome P-450 at 45 days with carbon monoxide and ethyl isocyanide as ligands indicated the presence of a greater admixture of a haemoprotein distinct from cytochrome P-450.
4. Study in vitro of the kinetics of two reactions, namely aminopyrine N-demethylation and 3,4-benzpyrene hydroxylation, catalysed by the hepatic microsomal cytochrome P-450-dependent enzyme system, suggested that hexachlorobenzene induced a form of cytochrome P-450 with different catalytic properties from those of forms induced by either phenobarbital or 3-methylcholanthrene.