Methylation of dinucleotide CG residues located in the 5′ end of the CYP2E1 gene has been demonstrated to play a role in the control of gene expression in the human developing liver. This study was undertaken to examine the CYP2E1 RNA content of human lung, kidney and full-term placenta and to determine whether the expression of CYP2E1 was controlled by its methylation status in these tissues. CYP2E1 was expressed at a very low level in the lung and kidney at whatever age, and at a variable level in full-term placentas. The restriction profile of genomic DNA was identical in lung and kidney and corresponded to a heavy methylation of HpaII/MspI sites located within the promoter, the first exon and first intron of the CYP2E1 gene. A different pattern of methylation was obtained in full-term placentas, indicating that CpG residues located in the 5′ end of the gene were predominantly but not fully demethylated. However, the variable level of CYP2E1 RNA in full-term placentas suggests the involvement of other elements in the regulation process of CYP2E1 in this tissue.