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The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 897–905 | Cite as

Ultrastructural localization of xanthine oxidase activity in the digestive tract of the rat

  • Rosier J. M. Van Den Munckhof
  • Helena Vreeling-Sindelárová
  • Jacques P. M. Schellens
  • Cornelis J. F. Van Noorden
  • Wilma M. Frederiks
Papers

Summary

Precise localization of xanthine oxidase activity might elucidate physiological functions of the enzyme, which have not been established so far. Because xanthine oxidase is sensitive to chemical (aldehyde) fixation, we have localized its activity in unfixed cryostat sections of rat duodenum, oesophagus and tongue mounted on a semipermeable membrane. Previous studies had shown that this procedure enables the exact localization of activities of peroxisomal oxidases with maintenance of acceptable ultrastructure. Moreover, leakage and/or diffusion of enzyme molecules was prevented with this method. The incubation medium to detect xanthine oxidase activity contained hypoxanthine as substrate and cerium ions as capturing agent for hydrogen peroxide. After incubation, reaction product in the sections was either visualized for light microscopy or sections were fixed immediately and processed for electron microscopy. At the ultrastructural level, crystalline reaction product specifically formed by xanthine oxidase activity was found to be present in the cytoplasmic matrix of enterocytes and goblet cells and in mucus of duodenum. Moderate activity was found in the cytoplasm of apical cell layers of epithelia of oesophagus and tongue, with highest activity in the cornified layer. Moreover, large amounts of reaction product were found to surround bacteria present between cell remnants of the cornified layer of the oesophagus. Many bacteria surrounded by the enzyme showed signs of destruction and/or cell death. The intracellular localization of xanthine oxidase activity in the cytoplasm of epithelial cells as well as the extracellular localization suggest that the enzyme plays a role in the lumen of the digestive tract, for instance in the defence against microorganisms.

Keywords

Cerium Digestive Tract Xanthine Oxidase Goblet Cell Hypoxanthine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosier J. M. Van Den Munckhof
    • 1
  • Helena Vreeling-Sindelárová
    • 1
  • Jacques P. M. Schellens
    • 1
  • Cornelis J. F. Van Noorden
    • 1
  • Wilma M. Frederiks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Cell Biology and HistologyAcademic Medical Centre, University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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