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Pathol Oncol Res. 2010 Jun;16(2):277-83. doi: 10.1007/s12253-009-9222-5. Epub 2009 Dec 3.

The proliferation marker thymidine kinase 1 level is high in normal kidney tubule cells compared to other normal and malignant renal cells.

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Department of Nephrology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China.


The activity of the proliferation related enzyme thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) was reported to be 3-fold higher in extracts from normal kidney tissue as compare to renal carcinoma extracts [3]. To verify these unexpected results, determinations of the protein levels of TK1 in normal kidney and in samples from different types of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were done with immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Two anti-TK1 peptide antibodies reacting with different TK1 epitops were used. TK1 levels were high in tubule cells as compared to glomerulus cells and connective tissue cells, while an intermediary TK1 was observed in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated high levels of TK1 in extract from normal kidney, and lower levels of TK1 in the RCC extracts. The specificity of TK1 staining was demonstrated in competition experiments with excess TK1 antigen. The high TK1 levels in normal kidney tubule cells suggest that they are in a form of activated G1-state. The relatively low TK1 level in RCC, representing TK1 expression in S-phase cells, is in accordance with the low overall proliferation rate of these tumors. These results suggest that cell cycle regulation of TK1 in normal tubule cells differ from that in other type of normal and malignant renal cells.

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