, Volume 85, Issue 5, pp 431-436

Tissue-type plasminogen activator in rat adrenal medulla

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Rat adrenal glands were stained immunocytochemically using antibodies against plasminogen activators of the tissue-type (t-PA) and urokinase-type (u-PA). A subpopulation of the cells in the adrenal medulla showed intense cytoplasmic t-PA immunoreactivity, while no u-PA immunoreactivity was detected in any adrenal cells. Fluorescence microscopy of adjacent sections demonstrated that the cells stained for t-PA contained noradrenalin. Analysis with a histochemical fibrin slide technique demonstrated a plasminogen-dependent fibrinolysis in the adrenal medulla. SDS-PAGE of adrenal gland extracts followed by zymography established the molecular weight of this plasminogen activator to be similar to that of rat t-PA. In addition SDS-PAGE followed by immunoblotting with anti-t-PA IgG of adrenal gland extracts revealed one band with an electrophoretic mobility indistinguishable from that found in the zymography. When tissue-sections and immunoblots were incubated with antibodies absorbed with highly purified t-PA no staining was found. In view of the previous finding of t-PA in growth hormone-containing cells of the pituitary gland, these findings substantiate that t-PA can be found in the intact normal organism outside endothelial cells, and further point to t-PA having a function in endocrine cells.