Induction of microsomal epoxide hydrolase activity in inbred mice by chronic phenytoin exposure

James K. Hartsfield, Stephen A. Benford, Don R. Hilbelink

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7 Scopus citations


A lower microsomal epoxide hydrolase (mEH) activity has been associated with increased likelihood of fetal hydantoin syndrome. While phenytoin anticonvulsive regimens are long-term, there are no data regarding induction of mEH by chronic phenytoin exposure. Two inbred mouse strains which differ in their susceptibility (A/J > C57BL/6J) to phenytoin-induced oral clefting were treated with an oral gavage of phenytoin for 14 consecutive days. The mice were sacrificed on the 15th day, and hepatic microsomes were prepared. mEH activity was determined using benzo[a]pyrene-4, 5-oxide. The dihydrodiol product was separated by HPLC and quantified. There was no significant difference (P = 0.15) in the phenytoin plasma level between the two strains on Day 15. There was no significant difference (P = 0.07) between control and sham control groups within each strain, so they were combined for further analysis. There was a significant strain difference (P = 0.0001) between the control and phenytoin-exposed group means, with the C57BL/6J strain having the greater activity before and after phenytoin exposure. The A/J phenytoin-exposed group activity was 51% higher (P = 0.01) than the A/J control, while the C57BL/6J phenytoin-exposed group activity was 78% higher (P = 0.001) than the C57BL/6J control. The greater mEH activity in the phenytoin-induced clefting resistant strain (C57BL/6J) before and after phenytoin exposure is consistent with a putative oxidative metabolism mechanism of phenytoin teratogenecity. Chronic phenytoin exposure induced mEH activity in both strains, although the strain with the greater enzyme activity prior to the exposure continued to have the greater activity following induction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-151
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Molecular Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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