Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Immunohistochemical localization of placental leucine aminopeptidase/oxytocinase in normal human placental, fetal and adult tissues

T. Nagasaka, S. Nomura, M. Okamura, M. Tsujimoto, H. Nakazato, Y. Oiso, N. Nakashima and S. Mizutani

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 9(8) 747 - 754
Published: 1997


While oxytocinase is known to exist in pregnancy serum and placenta, the present study describes the expression of the mRNA for this enzyme in a wide variety of other human tissues. Northern blot analysis was used to detect the mRNA, with a probe derived from a cDNA for oxytocinase/placental leucine aminopeptidase (P-LAP). Both the distribution and localization of immunoreactive oxytocinase/P-LAP protein have been determined immunohistochemically by use of an anti-P-LAP antibody in normal placental, fetal and adult tissues. In placental tissues, only syncytiotrophoblasts were stained positively. In both fetal and adult tissues, positive staining was obtained in vascular endothelial cells, gastrointestinal mucosal cells, epithelial cells of hepato-biliary, pancreato-biliary, bronchial-alveolar and renal tubular systems as well as islet cells of pancreas and neurons in the central nervous systems. Sweat-gland cells, seminal vesicles and prostate gland in the adult, as well as adipocytes and skeletal muscle cells in the fetus were also stained. The widespread distribution of P-LAP suggests its involvement in a variety of physiological events not restricted to the regulation of the amounts of bioactive peptides such as arginine vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OT) in pregnancy. The presence of P-LAP in syncytiotrophoblasts supports the idea that P-LAP in pregnancy serum is derived from the placenta.

© CSIRO 1997

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