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Hepatology. 1998 Jul;28(1):156-63.

Expression of cytosolic beta-glucosidase in guinea pig liver cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, 87131-5271 USA.


The cytosolic beta-glucosidase of mammalian liver has been implicated in the metabolic transformation of plant glycosides, such as vicine and amygdalin, which are associated with the development of toxic syndromes. We investigated which cell types express cytosolic beta-glucosidase in guinea pig liver, and characterized the contribution of this enzyme to the hydrolysis of aromatic glucosides in cultured cells and in tissue slices. Cytosolic beta-glucosidase was expressed in hepatocytes and not in Kupffer or endothelial cells as determined by enzyme-specific activity and Western blots of liver cell extracts. Intracellular beta-glucosidase activity was visualized using the fluorescent beta-glucosidase substrate, resorufin beta-D-glucoside, and shown to be caused by the cytosolic beta-glucosidase using the inhibitors, conduritol beta-epoxide and dinitrophenol-2-deoxy-2-fluoro-beta-D-glucopyranoside (DNP2FGlc). Staining of fresh liver slices with resorufin beta-glucoside revealed that cytosolic beta-glucosidase is expressed in all hepatocytes, with no significant portal-central gradient. These data indicate that cytosolic beta-glucosidase is a hepatocyte-specific enzyme, and support the hypothesis that cytosolic beta-glucosidase in the liver functions to hydrolyze small glucosides absorbed by the intestine. Furthermore, toxic injury to cultured hepatocytes by CCl4 resulted in release of cytosolic beta-glucosidase in parallel with the hepatocyte marker enzymes alanine transaminase and lactate dehydrogenase. This suggests that acute increases in serum levels of cytosolic beta-glucosidase in animal models of liver injury may reflect direct injury of hepatocytes.

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