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Lab Invest. 1999 Aug;79(8):967-74.

Cellular expression of xanthine oxidoreductase protein in normal human tissues.

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Research Laboratory, Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Xanthine oxidoreductase is an important cytoplasmic source of reactive oxygen species, and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion damage. Because the cellular localization of this protein remains unclear, our aim was to study its distribution in fresh normal human tissue obtained at surgery. For immunohistochemical studies we purified the protein from human milk and raised a polyclonal antibody in rabbits. In the liver the protein was preferentially localized to the periportal hepatocytes and it was absent from the perivenous region. In the proximal intestine, the protein was expressed in epithelial cells and goblet cells. Lactating mammary gland acinar cells showed intense staining. Small vessel vascular endothelial cells of the intestine, mammary gland, and skeletal muscle showed immunoreactivity, but in the kidney, glomerular endothelial cells were negative. No cells in the heart, brain, or lung expressed the enzyme protein. The observed localization of the xanthine oxidoreductase protein is consistent with previously observed enzyme activities in the organs studied. The widely assumed exclusive localization to capillary endothelium obviously does not apply to humans.

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