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J Histochem Cytochem. 1983 Apr;31(4):488-94.

Immunohistochemical localization of collagenase in hepatic murine schistosomiasis.


It has been previously demonstrated that collagenase activity and collagen synthesis in hepatic granulomas of mice infected with S. mansoni cercariae are maximal 8 weeks after infection; however, total liver collagen content continues to increase. Now the anatomic relationships among collagenase and collagen, granulomas, and hepatic parenchyma in normal mice and in mice infected with S. mansoni are studied. Trypsin-activated collagenase was purified from the media of cultured granuloma explants and anti-collagenase immunoglobulin G was purified from immunized rabbits. The IgG cross-reacted with liver granulomas and active and inactive forms of collagenase, but did not react by immunodiffusion in agar with other neutral proteases or homogenates of schistosome eggs or normal liver. Cryostat sections of liver from normal and infected mice were studied by indirect immunohistochemical methods using fluorescein, rhodamine, and peroxidase labels. Collagenase localization was restricted to areas of collagen deposits in granulomas and hepatic parenchyma. Ultrastructural studies revealed collagenase on the surface of collagen fibers. Hepatocytes of normal mice showed delicate staining at the sinusoidal surface. At all times, immunoreactive collagenase was intimately associated with its substrate, where it presumably initiated collagen degradation. This localization provides a rationale for possible therapeutic approaches to control fibrogenesis through collagenase induction or activation.

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