The rat liver mixed function oxidase system which is responsible for the metabolism of endogenous and exogenous compounds has been shown to be affected by lead and methyl mercury. Administration of these environmental pollutants to rats results in a decrease in cytochrome P-450 content and inhibition of in vitro N-demethylase and hydroxylase activities. The in vitro enzyme-inhibiting effects of the metals found pharmacological expression in the whole animal by prolongation of hexobarbital-induced sleeping times.

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