Stress is a critical player in CYP3A, CYP2C, and CYP2D regulation: role of adrenergic receptor signaling pathways

Evangelos P. Daskalopoulos, Foteini Malliou, Georgia Rentesi, Marios Marselos, Matti A. Lang, Maria Konstandi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Stress is a critical player in the regulation of the major cytochrome P-450s (CYPs) that metabolize the majority of the prescribed drugs. Early in life, maternal deprivation (MD) stress and repeated restraint stress (RS) modified CYP expression in a stress-specific manner. In particular, the expression of CYP3A1 and CYP2C11 was increased in the liver of MD rats, whereas RS had no significant effect. In contrast, hepatic CYP2D1/2 activity was increased by RS, whereas MD did not affect it. The primary effectors of the stress system, glucocorticoids and epinephrine, highly induced CYP3A1/2. Epinephrine also induced the expression of CYP2C11 and CYP2D1/2. Further investigation indicated that AR-agonists may modify CYP regulation. In vitro experiments using primary hepatocyte cultures treated with the AR-agonists phenylephrine, dexmedetomidine, and isoprenaline indicated an AR-induced upregulating effect on the above-mentioned CYPs mediated by the cAMP/protein kinase A and c-Jun NH?-terminal kinase signaling pathways. Interestingly though, in vivo pharmacological manipulations of ARs using the same AR-agonists led to a suppressed hepatic CYP expression profile, indicating that the effect of the complex network of central and peripheral AR-linked pathways overrides that of the hepatic ARs. The AR-mediated alterations in CYP3A1/2, CYP2C11, and CYP2D1/2 expressions are potentially connected with those observed in the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b. In conclusion, stress and AR-agonists may modify the expression of the major CYP genes involved in the metabolism of drugs used in a wide range of diseases, thus affecting drug efficacy and toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E40-E54
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology : Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • cytochrome P-450s
  • drug metabolism
  • epinephrine
  • glucocorticoids
  • rat

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