To assess the contribution of cytochrome P450 (P450) to the microsomal ethanol oxidation system (MEOS) in humans, we examined ethanol oxidization activity in human hepatic microsomes and multiple forms of human hepatic P450s expressed in B-lymphoblastoid cells. Acetaldehyde produced by the MEOS was converted into a fluorescent derivate with cyclohexane-1,3-dione and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography using a fluorescence detector. The ethanol oxidation activity of seven forms of human P450s was investigated. P450s 2E1 and 1A2 formed acetaldehyde at high rates. In immunoinhibition studies, anti-P450 2E1 antibody inhibited the ethanol oxidation activity of human hepatic microsomes by 54%, and anti-P450 1A2 antibody inhibited ethanol oxidation activity by 21%. 7,8-Benzoflavone, an inhibitor of P450 1A forms, also inhibited this activity by 38%. The correlation of ethanol oxidation activity with the levels of immunoreactive P450 2E1 in individual human microsomes was highly significant (r = 0.91, P < .001), and the correlation of ethanol oxidation activity with the levels of P450 1A2 was also highly significant (r = 0.87, P < .001). The Km values of P450s 2E1 and 1A2 for ethanol oxidation were 16.5 and 23.6 mM, respectively. These results indicated that P450 2E1 was a major contributor to the MEOS in humans; however, P450 1A2 was considered to play an important role in the MEOS.