Cytochrome P450 2A5 and Bilirubin: Mechanisms of Gene Regulation and Cytoprotection
Murine cytochrome P450 2A5 (CYP2A5) is an interesting enzyme for its unique regulation and its involvement in liver injury caused by various well-known pathological conditions or hepatotoxins. It has been reported that CYP2A5 is upregulated following exposure to chemical hepatotoxins and during pathophysiological conditions in which the levels of most Cytochrome P450s are either unchanged or down-regulated. Recently bilirubin has been identified as the first endogenous substrate for CYP2A5 and it has been suggested that CYP2A5 plays a major role in bilirubin clearance as an alternative mechanism to BR conjugation by UGT1A1. This study investigated the mechanisms of gene regulation and cytoprotective role of CYP2A5 in response to bilirubin treatment in liver. Our results demonstrate that bilirubin induces CYP2A5 expression at the mRNA and protein levels by increasing CYP2A5 transcription via a mechanism that involves Nrf2 activation. Furthermore, our results suggest that induced CYP2A5 plays a cytoprotective role against bilirubin toxicity by directly lowering the cellular levels of bilirubin and by inhibiting caspase-3 activation.