The mechanisms underlying the decrease in hepatic cytochrome P-450 (CYP) content in ascorbic acid deficiency was investigated in scurvy-prone ODS rats. First, male ODS rats were fed a diet containing sufficient ascorbic acid (control) or a diet without ascorbic acid (deficient) for 18 days, with or without the intraperitoneal injection of phenobarbital. Ascorbic acid deficiency decreased hepatic microsomal total CYP content, CYP2B1/2B2 protein, and mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase (COX) complex IV subunit I protein, and simultaneously increased heme oxygenase-1 protein in microsomes and mitochondria. Next, heme oxygenase-1 inducers, that is lipopolysaccharide and hemin, were administered to phenobaribital-treated ODS rats fed sufficient ascorbic acid. The administration of these inducers decreased hepatic microsomal total CYP content, CYP2B1/2B2 protein, and mitochondrial COX complex IV subunit I protein. These results suggested that the stimulation of hepatic heme oxygenase-1 expression by ascorbic acid deficiency caused the decrease in CYP content in liver.