Hypoxia-inducible factor-? (HIF-?) and cytochrome P450 1A (CYP1A) are biomarkers of environmental exposure to hypoxia and organic xenobiotic chemicals that act through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, respectively. Many aquatic environments heavily contaminated with organic chemicals, such as harbors, are also hypoxic. Recently, we and other scientists reported HIF-? genes are upregulated by hypoxia exposure in aquatic organisms, but the molecular mechanisms of hypoxia regulation of CYP1A expression have not been investigated in teleost fishes. As a first step in understanding the molecular mechanisms of hypoxia modulation of CYP1A expression in fish, we characterized CYP1A cDNA from croaker liver. Hypoxia exposure (dissolved oxygen, DO: 1.7 mg/L for 2 to 4 weeks) caused significant decreases in hepatic CYP1A mRNA and protein levels compared to CYP1A levels in fish held in normoxic conditions. In vivo studies showed that the nitric oxide (NO)-donor, S-nitroso-N-acetyl-DL-penicillamine, significantly decreased CYP1A expression in croaker livers, whereas the competitive inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS), N?-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, restored CYP1A mRNA and protein levels in hypoxia-exposed (1.7 mg DO/L for 4 weeks) fish. In vivo hypoxia exposure also markedly increased interleukin-1? (IL-1?, a cytokine), HIF-2? mRNA and endothelial NOS (eNOS) protein levels in croaker livers. Pharmacological treatment with vitamin E, an antioxidant, lowered the IL-1?, HIF-2? mRNA and eNOS protein levels in hypoxia-exposed fish and completely reversed the down-regulation of hepatic CYP1A mRNA and protein levels in response to hypoxia exposure. These results suggest that hypoxia-induced down-regulation of CYP1A is due to alterations of NO and oxidant status, and cellular IL-1? and HIF-? levels. Moreover, the present study provides the first evidence of a role for antioxidants in hepatic eNOS and IL-1? regulation in aquatic vertebrates during hypoxic stress.