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Xanthine oxidase in the lung Wilson, Wendy Lee


The generation of oxygen free radicals by the cytosolic enzyme, xanthine oxidase (XO), has been implicated in post-ischemic or reperfusion damage in several organs. XO catalyzes the conversion of hypoxanthine to urate with the concomitant production of superoxide anion free radical (0₂̅˙) and hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂). Oxygen free radical-mediated injury has also been demonstrated in inflammatory lung disease. The possible involvement of XO in oxidative injury in the lung has not yet been studied. Therefore, this research project was designed to determine whether XO is present in the lung and to investigate its characteristics in porcine, bovine, rat and human lung and other tissues. Immunochemical analysis of xanthine oxidase in the tissues employed on polyclonal antibody raised to bovine milk XO. Proteins were separated by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of tissue homogenates. Proteins were transfered from the gels to nitrocellulose filters by Western blotting. After incubating the filters with a antisera containing the antibody to the purified bovine XO. XO on the filter was detected by its reaction with an enzyme-conjugated second antibody. XO was immunologically detectable in bovine lung and milk. Rat lung, kidney and liver all showed XO reactivity. XO was detectable in porcine liver but not detectable in porcine lung or kidney. Thus, the antibody to bovine XO was cross-reactive with porcine and rat XO. XO protein was not immunologically detectable in human lung possibly because the antibody was not cross reactive with the bovine antibody. In vivo, xanthine oxidase exists predominantly as a dehydrogenase rather than an oxidase. In this form as xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH) the enxyme does not produce either 0₂̅˙ or H₂O₂. The activity of both XDH and XO was measured in several tissues using a fluorometric assay which uses an artifical substrate, pterin which is catalytically converted to the fluorescent product isoxanthopterin (IXP). XO activity in porcine liver was of 1.1 x 10⁻³ µg IXP/mg protein/min although XO activity was not detectable in porcine lung and kidney, in rat lung of 1.7 x 10⁻² µg IXP/mg protein/min, rat kidney of 1.5 x 10⁻² µg IXP/mg protein/min, and rat liver of 2.2 x 10⁻² µg IXP/mg protein/min. Seven human lung biopsy samples were obtained after lung resection and initially tested for viability by determination of NADH oxidase activity and then assayed for XO-XDH. Three of these samples showed NADH oxidase activity indicating tissue viability, but only one of these three showed measurable XO activity of 5.35 x 10⁻⁶ µg IXP/mg protein/min. Irreversible conversion of XDH to XO is thought to be the result of limited proteolysis by a Ca²⁺/calmodulin activated protease, whereas reversible conversion of the enzyme occurs by oxidation of critical thiol groups. Studies on the rate and nature of fluorescence assay to detect catalytic activities of both enzyme forms. Incubation of lung homogenates with trypsin for 60 min caused irreverisble conversion of 90% of the XDH to XO. In contrast, incubation of homogenates at 15°C for 10 hours caused conversion of 100% of the XDH to XO. This conversion was reversible to the extent of 80% by reduction of thiol groups with dithiothreitol (DTT). The effects of free Ca²⁺ on the conversion of XDH to X0 was examined by using EDTA, a chelator of Ca²⁺ and other divalent cations; and EGTA, a more specific chelator of Ca²⁺. The presence of these chelating agents during homogenization of either normoxic or ischemic rat lung tissue did not inhibit reversible enzyme conversion. Increased XO activity was reversible by DTT. In the normoxic rat lung, homogenates prepared with EDTA and EGTA showed a similar conversion of 95% of XDH to XO which was reversible to 70% with DTT. In the ischemic rat lung, samples prepared with EDTA and EGTA showed a'conversion of 80% and 95% XDH to XO which was similar to control samples. The extent of reversibility to XDH was 75% with DTT incubation. In addition, perfusion of rat lungs with EDTA and DTT via a pulmonary artery cannula prior to 60 min of ischemia and homogenization did not affect the extent of XDH to XO conversion. These results indicate that irreversible Ca²⁺-mediated proteolytic conversion of XDH to XO does not occur to a great extent in the rat lung during either normoxia or ischemia. However, reversible conversion of XDH to XO does occur, suggesting that reversible thiol dependent conversion may play a role in the lung under both physiological and pathophysiological states.

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