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Event: 1391

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Activation of Cyp2E1

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Activation of Cyp2E1

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help
Level of Biological Organization

Cell term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Cyp2E1 Activation Leading to Liver Cancer MolecularInitiatingEvent Agnes Aggy (send email) Open for citation & comment WPHA/WNT Endorsed


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
rodents rodents High NCBI
Homo sapiens Homo sapiens High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages High

Sex Applicability

The authors must select from one of the following: Male, female, mixed, asexual, third gender, hermaphrodite, or unspecific. More help
Term Evidence
Mixed High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

Cyp2E1 is a membrane-bound monooxygenase that is primarily located in zone 3 hepatocytes (Ingelman-Sundberg, et al. 1988, Tsutsumi, et al. 1989). Although it is also expressed in other tissues (, the body of literature on CYP2E1 is focussed on measurement in liver. CYP2E1 is primarily located in the endoplasmic reticulum, but can also be present in the mitochondria.  It is a phase I metabolism enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of low molecular weight substrates. Unlike most cytochrome P450 enzymes, Cyp2E1 is constitutively expressed (i.e., its expression is not transcriptionally controlled by substrate-bound nuclear receptors). Alternatively, exposure to a substrate increases its activity through post-translational stabilization of the molecule. Thus, the presence of substrate significantly increases the half-life of the Cyp2E1 enzyme thereby allowing it to be active for a longer period of time (Gonzalez 2007, Song, et al. 1989). The sustained activation of Cyp2E1 due to the presence of the chemical substrate is required for this MIE to produce downstream adverse effects. 

Cyp2E1 is also regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway and the involvement of hsp-based chaperone (Morishima et al. 2005); however, this mechanism of regulation is not discussed further herein.

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?
  • Mixed function oxidase catalytic activity. These assays have been thoroughly reviewed by Cederbaum (2014). The paper describes preparation of microsomes from both liver homogenates and cell cultures for testing Cyp2E1 activity. Briefly, the ratio of 6-hydroxychlorzoxazone/chlorzoxazone can be used to estimate levels of CYP2E1 in humans (Girre, et al. 1994). In addition, the oxidation of para-nitrophenol (PNP) to para nitrocatechol is an efficient and relatively specific assay to determine catalytic activity dependent on CYP2E1 [e.g., (Koop 1986, Koop, et al. 1989, Reinke and Moyer 1985)]. Other assays are described within the review article by Cederbaum.
  • Western blot or Immunohistochemistry.  Following chemical treatment, Cyp2E1 protein levels should increase if it is involved in the metabolism of that substrate. Western blot (of protein extracted from liver or cultured cells) or immunohistochemistry (of fixed liver or cultured cells) using anti-Cyp2E1 antibodies is the most straightforward approach for directly measuring increased levels of Cyp2E1.
  • HepG2 cells. A compound’s Cyp2E1-dependence can be determined by comparing toxic effects in HepG2 versus HepG2-E47 cells. HepG2 cells are immortalized human hepatoma cells that do not express Cyp2E1; whereas, HepG2-E47 cells over-express Cyp2E1 (by recombinant retroviral infection). Chemicals that are metabolically activated by Cyp2E1 will cause cytotoxicity and oxidative stress in the E47 cells only. Toxicity can be blocked by treatment with antioxidants or Cyp2E1 inhibitors. Toxicity is exacerbated when glutathione is depleted (Wu and Cederbaum 2005) (e.g., ethanol (Cederbaum, et al. 2001, Chen and Cederbaum 1998, Chen, et al. 1998, Dai, et al. 1993).
  • Measurement of chemical oxidation by Cyp2E1 in liver microsomes; described in the methodology review by Cederbaum (Cederbaum 2014). Reactions use specific probes to confirm that the compound undergoes oxidation, and that this oxidation reaction is catalyzed by Cyp2E1. See also: (Koop 1986, Koop, et al. 1989, Reinke and Moyer 1985).
  • Cyp2E1 knock-out mouse. Chemical exposures in knockout mice are conducted and the production of the anticipated metabolites is measured. Lack of metabolite production indicates that Cyp2E1 is required for the chemical’s metabolism. Effects in knock-out mice are always measured in reference to wild-type (control) mice, which allows investigators to attribute the altered phenotype to the gene that has been knocked-out. Studies in Cyp2E1 knockout mice indicate the following chemicals interact with it: carbon tetrachloride (Wong, et al. 1998), acetone (Bondoc, et al. 1999), benzene (Powley and Carlson 2001), thioacetamide (Chilakapati, et al. 2007), trichloroethylene (Kim and Ghanayem 2006), acrylonitrile (El Hadri, et al. 2005), urethane (Hoffler, et al. 2003, Hoffler and Ghanayem 2005), acetaminophen (Lee, et al. 1996, Zaher, et al. 1998), and ethanol (Bardag-Gorce, et al. 2000).
  • Humanized Cyp2E1 mice. Two transgenic mice with human Cyp2E1 have been created. The first mouse reproduces and develops normally, and demonstrates Cyp2E1-dependent toxicity (Morgan, et al. 2002). However, these mice express human and endogenous Cyp2E1, which is not ideal. A true ‘humanized’ Cyp2E1 transgenic mouse was produced by the Gonzalez lab in which the endogenous Cyp2E1 gene was replaced with the human Cyp2E1 gene (Cheung, et al. 2005, Cheung and Gonzalez 2008). Studies in these mice are conducted in order to provide evidence that the Cyp2E1-dependent effects observed in experimental animals will also occur in humans.
  • 2-Piperidone. 2-Piperidone is a newly proposed biomarker of Cyp2E1 activity that is detected in urine (Cheng, et al. 2013).


Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

Taxonomic applicability: The Cyp2E1 gene is present across a variety of taxa including humans and primates, mice and rats. AceView ( indicates high levels of Cyp2E1 expression from RNA-seq experiments in liver across primate species. Cype2E1 is also present in frogs (Fort, et al. 2003, Saito, et al. 1997) and fish (Howarth, et al. 2011).

Life stages: Studies are primarily on adult liver tissues.

Sex applicability: Cyp2E1 is expressed in both males and females.

Evidence for Perturbation by Stressor

Overview for Molecular Initiating Event

When a specific MIE can be defined (i.e., the molecular target and nature of interaction is known), in addition to describing the biological state associated with the MIE, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to list stressors known to trigger the MIE and provide evidence supporting that initiation. This will often be a list of prototypical compounds demonstrated to interact with the target molecule in the manner detailed in the MIE description to initiate a given pathway (e.g., 2,3,7,8-TCDD as a prototypical AhR agonist; 17α-ethynyl estradiol as a prototypical ER agonist). Depending on the information available, this could also refer to chemical categories (i.e., groups of chemicals with defined structural features known to trigger the MIE). Known stressors should be included in the MIE description, but it is not expected to include a comprehensive list. Rather initially, stressors identified will be exemplary and the stressor list will be expanded over time. For more information on MIE, please see pages 32-33 in the User Handbook.

A variety of substrates have been described (Lieber 1997, Tanaka, et al. 2000). There are >85 known Cyp2E1 substrates. They are low molecular weight compounds, including: molecular oxygen, acetone (Bondoc, et al. 1999), acetaminophen (Lee, et al. 1996, Zaher, et al. 1998), carbon tetrachloride (Wong, et al. 1998), pyrazole, vinyl chloride, furan, chloroform, ethanol (Bardag-Gorce, et al. 2000), benzene (Powley and Carlson 2001), acrylonitrile (El Hadri, et al. 2005), trichloroethylene (Kim and Ghanayem 2006), aniline, N-nitrosodimethylamine, N-nitrosodiethylamine, diethylnitrosamine, thioacetamide (Chilakapati, et al. 2007), urethane (Hoffler, et al. 2003, Hoffler and Ghanayem 2005), and toluene.


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Bardag-Gorce, F., Yuan, Q.X., Li, J., French, B.A., Fang, C., Ingelman-Sundberg, M., French, S.W., 2000. The effect of ethanol-induced cytochrome p4502E1 on the inhibition of proteasome activity by alcohol. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 279, 23-29.

Bondoc, F.Y., Bao, Z., Hu, W.Y., Gonzalez, F.J., Wang, Y., Yang, C.S., Hong, J.Y., 1999. Acetone catabolism by cytochrome P450 2E1: studies with CYP2E1-null mice. Biochem. Pharmacol. 58, 461-463.

Cederbaum, A.I., 2014. Methodology to assay CYP2E1 mixed function oxidase catalytic activity and its induction. Redox Biol. 2C, 1048-1054.

Cheng, J., Chen, C., Kristopher, K.W., Manna, S.K., Scerba, M., Friedman, F.K., Luecke, H., Idle, J.R., Gonzalez, F.J., 2013. Identification of 2-piperidone as a biomarker of CYP2E1 activity through metabolomic phenotyping. Toxicol. Sci. 135, 37-47.

Cheung, C., Gonzalez, F.J., 2008. Humanized mouse lines and their application for prediction of human drug metabolism and toxicological risk assessment. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 327, 288-299.

Chilakapati, J., Korrapati, M.C., Shankar, K., Hill, R.A., Warbritton, A., Latendresse, J.R., Mehendale, H.M., 2007. Role of CYP2E1 and saturation kinetics in the bioactivation of thioacetamide: Effects of diet restriction and phenobarbital. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 219, 72-84.

El Hadri, L., Chanas, B., Ghanayem, B.I., 2005. Comparative metabolism of methacrylonitrile and acrylonitrile to cyanide using cytochrome P4502E1 and microsomal epoxide hydrolase-null mice. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 205, 116-125.

Fort, D.J., McLaughlin, D.W., Rogers, R.L., Buzzard, B.O., 2003. Evaluation of the developmental toxicities of ethanol, acetaldehyde, and thioacetamide using FETAX. Drug Chem. Toxicol. 26, 23-34.

Girre, C., Lucas, D., Hispard, E., Menez, C., Dally, S., Menez, J.F., 1994. Assessment of cytochrome P4502E1 induction in alcoholic patients by chlorzoxazone pharmacokinetics. Biochem. Pharmacol. 47, 1503-1508.

Gonzalez, F.J., 2007. The 2006 Bernard B. Brodie Award Lecture. Cyp2e1. Drug metabolism and disposition: the biological fate of chemicals 35, 1-8.

Hoffler, U., El-Masri, H.A., Ghanayem, B.I., 2003. Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) is the principal enzyme responsible for urethane metabolism: comparative studies using CYP2E1-null and wild-type mice. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 305, 557-564.

Hoffler, U., Ghanayem, B.I., 2005. Increased bioaccumulation of urethane in CYP2E1-/- versus CYP2E1+/+ mice. Drug Metab. Dispos. 33, 1144-1150.

Howarth, D.L., Passeri, M., Sadler, K.C., 2011. Drinks Like a Fish: Using Zebrafish to Understand Alcoholic Liver Disease. Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. 35, 826-829.

Ingelman-Sundberg, M., Johansson, I., Penttila, K.E., Glaumann, H., Lindros, K.O., 1988. Centrilobular expression of ethanol-inducible cytochrome P-450 (IIE1) in rat liver. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 157, 55-60.

Kim, D., Ghanayem, B.I., 2006. Comparative metabolism and disposition of trichloroethylene in Cyp2e1-/-and wild-type mice. Drug Metab. Dispos. 34, 2020-2027.

Koop, D.R., 1986. Hydroxylation of p-nitrophenol by rabbit ethanol-inducible cytochrome P-450 isozyme 3a. Mol. Pharmacol. 29, 399-404.

Koop, D.R., Laethem, C.L., Tierney, D.J., 1989. The utility of p-nitrophenol hydroxylation in P450IIE1 analysis. Drug Metab. Rev. 20, 541-551.

Lee, S.S., Buters, J.T., Pineau, T., Fernandez-Salguero, P., Gonzalez, F.J., 1996. Role of CYP2E1 in the hepatotoxicity of acetaminophen. J. Biol. Chem. 271, 12063-12067.

Lieber, C.S., 1997. Cytochrome P-4502E1: its physiological and pathological role. Physiol. Rev. 77, 517-544.

Morishima, Y., Peng, H-M., Lin, H-L., Hollenberg, P.F., Sunahara, R., K., Osawa, Y., Pratt, W.B. Regulation of Cytochrome P450 2E1 by Heat Shock Protein 90-Dependent Stabilization and CHIP-Dependent Proteasomal Degradation. 2005. Biochemistry. 44, 49, 16333-16340.

Morgan, K., French, S.W., Morgan, T.R., 2002. Production of a cytochrome P450 2E1 transgenic mouse and initial evaluation of alcoholic liver damage. Hepatology 36, 122-134.

Powley, M.W., Carlson, G.P., 2001. Hepatic and pulmonary microsomal benzene metabolism in CYP2E1 knockout mice. Toxicology 169, 187-194.

Reinke, L.A., Moyer, M.J., 1985. p-Nitrophenol hydroxylation. A microsomal oxidation which is highly inducible by ethanol. Drug Metab. Dispos. 13, 548-552.

Saito, H., Ohi, H., Sugata, E., Murayama, N., Fujita, Y., Higuchi, S., 1997. Purification and characterization of a cytochrome P450 from liver microsomes of Xenopus laevis. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 345, 56-64.

Song, B.J., Veech, R.L., Park, S.S., Gelboin, H.V., Gonzalez, F.J., 1989. Induction of rat hepatic N-nitrosodimethylamine demethylase by acetone is due to protein stabilization. J. Biol. Chem. 264, 3568-3572.

Tanaka, E., Terada, M., Misawa, S., 2000. Cytochrome P450 2E1: its clinical and toxicological role. J. Clin. Pharm. Ther. 25, 165-175.

Tsutsumi, M., Lasker, J.M., Shimizu, M., Rosman, A.S., Lieber, C.S., 1989. The intralobular distribution of ethanol-inducible P450IIE1 in rat and human liver. Hepatology 10, 437-446.

Wu, D., Cederbaum, A.I., 2005. Oxidative stress mediated toxicity exerted by ethanol-inducible CYP2E1. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 207, 70-76.

Zaher, H., Buters, J.T., Ward, J.M., Bruno, M.K., Lucas, A.M., Stern, S.T., Cohen, S.D., Gonzalez, F.J., 1998. Protection against acetaminophen toxicity in CYP1A2 and CYP2E1 double-null mice. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 152, 193-199.