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Kidney Int. 1997 Feb;51(2):479-82.

Immunohistochemical colocalization of the alpha-subunit of neutrophil NADPH oxidase and ecto-5'-nucleotidase in kidney and liver.

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Department of Anatomy, Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


In kidney and liver, fibroblasts and fibroblast-like cells, respectively, are sources of erythropoietin (Epo) formation, and these cells also bear a number of other similarities. Renal Epo expression is localized in peritubular type 1 fibroblasts of the cortical labyrinth, and in the liver, apart from parenchymal cells, transcription is found in Ito cells. Both the renal peritubular cells and Ito cells contain ecto-5'-nucleotidase (5'NT). It had been suggested that 5'NT is involved in the oxygen sensing mechanism via a hydrolysis of AMP to adenosine, which in turn may stimulate EPO synthesis. However, the molecular mechanism of the cellular response to hypoxia is currently not well understood. Based on the notion that a heme protein probably acts as the oxygen sensor, it has recently been proposed that a b-type cytochrome as part of the neutrophil NADPH oxidase may influence intracellular superoxide levels depending on local oxygen tension. Superoxide levels were otherwise shown to determine the EPO production in hepatoma cell lines. By double immunofluorescence labeling the alpha-subunit of cytochrome b558 (alpha-SU) and 5'NT were simultaneously localized in rat kidney and liver, and in the kidney Epo mRNA and alpha-SU were double-labeled. Positive signal for alpha-SU was found in the majority of renal peritubular fibroblasts in the cortex and outer medulla, and in Ito cells. In both organs, the cells that coexpress 5'NT and Epo mRNA also contain an immunoreactivity for alpha-SU. In these cells, cytochrome b558 as part of an NADPH oxidase may be involved in a presumptive oxygen sensing mechanism using H2O2 as a possible second messenger for EPO gene regulation.

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