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Histochem J. 1998 Oct;30(10):741-51.

Immunohistochemical localization of arginase II and other enzymes of arginine metabolism in rat kidney and liver.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


Arginine is a precursor for the synthesis of urea, polyamines, creatine phosphate, nitric oxide and proteins. It is synthesized from ornithine by argininosuccinate synthetase and argininosuccinate lyase and is degraded by arginase, which consists of a liver-type (arginase I) and a non-hepatic type (arginase II). Recently, cDNAs for human and rat arginase II have been isolated. In this study, immunocytochemical analysis showed that human arginase II expressed in COS-7 cells was localized in the mitochondria. Arginase II mRNA was abundant in the rat small intestine and kidney. In the kidney, argininosuccinate synthetase and lyase were immunostained in the cortex, intensely in proximal tubules and much less intensely in distal tubules. In contrast, arginase II was stained intensely in the outer stripes of the outer medulla, presumably in the proximal straight tubules, and in a subpopulation of the proximal tubules in the cortex. Immunostaining of serial sections of the kidney showed that argininosuccinate synthetase and arginase II were colocalized in a subpopulation of proximal tubules in the cortex, whereas only the synthetase, but not arginase II, was present in another subpopulation of proximal tubules. In the liver, all the enzymes of the urea cycle, i.e. carbamylphosphate synthetase I, ornithine transcarbamylase, argininosuccinate synthetase and lyase and arginase I, showed similar zonation patterns with staining more intense in periportal hepatocytes than in pericentral hepatocytes, although zonation of ornithine transcarbamylase was much less prominent. The implications of these results are discussed.

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