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Eur J Histochem. 2000;44(2):157-64.

Immunoelectron microscopic demonstration of the membrane proteases aminopeptidase N/CD13 and dipeptidyl peptidase IV/CD26 in normal and neoplastic renal parenchymal tissues and cells.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Halle-Wittenberg, Medical Faculty, Halle, Germany.


Aminopeptidase N (APN, CD13) and dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV, CD26) are transmembrane ectoenzymes occurring in a wide variety of cells. They are involved in tumour cell invasion and the formation of metastases. A basis for further information about these enzymes is the exact ultrastructural localization in normal and malignant cells. In this paper, we demonstrate the precise subcellular localization of the membrane peptidases APN and DPP IV on the cell surfaces in renal tissues, renal cell carcinoma, cultured renal parenchymal cells and cultured renal carcinoma cells. Using cryo-ultramicrotomy of weakly fixed tissues and cells in combination with indirect immunogold labelling, both membrane peptidases were detectable on the external cell surfaces. They showed different ultrastructural expression patterns. Both membrane peptidases were abundantly labelled on the external cell surfaces of human kidney proximal tubular cells. The expression pattern of APN/CD13 and DPP IV/CD26 in single labelling was confirmed by a successive double labelling technique. The immunolabelling of CD13 on cultured renal parenchymal cells showed a stronger expression then in cells in vivo, but CD26 could not be found. In renal cell cancer (mixed clear cell/chromophilic, poorly differentiated and clear cell type, moderately differentiated) CD13 and CD26 were labelled as in benign renal tissue, but CD26 appeared overexpressed. On the renal carcinoma cells Caki-1 and Caki-2, only one of the two peptidases could be found. CD13 was present non-homogeneously in Caki-1, where the enzyme appeared to form clusters. When CD26 on the cultured renal carcinoma cells Caki-2, is compared with renal proximal tubular cells and renal carcinoma cells in tissue sections, a reduced expression is observed. CD13 was not detected in Caki-2, and CD26 was not found in Caki-1. These small changes on the cell surfaces can only be detected by electronmicroscopic methods. The differences in the distribution of APN/CD13 and DPP IV/CD26 in normal and malignant cells are discussed in connection with literature. Further investigations, especially labelling studies on other neoplastic tissues and cells, will be necessary in order to explain the precise role these membrane peptidases in malignancies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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