Journal of periodontal research

Comparative histochemical, biochemical and immunocytochemical studies of cathepsin B in human gingiva.

PMID 7515962


Cathepsin B activity was demonstrated histochemically in unfixed cryostat sections of inflamed human gingiva using the 2-methoxy-4-naphthylamide (MNA) substrates Z-Val-Lys-Lys-Arg-MNA and Z-Ala-Arg-Arg-MNA with a post-azo-coupling technique. Enzyme localisation was confirmed by immunocytochemistry with polyclonal sheep anti-human cathepsin B. In both cases, staining was found in connective tissue fibroblasts and also in cells varying in shape from rounded to more irregular forms. The latter were present both in areas of cellular infiltration and in the oral and pocket epithelium. Examination of adjacent sections with monoclonal antibodies directed against leukocyte differentiation antigens showed that the rounded to irregular cells were CD68 positive macrophages and monocytes. The histochemical staining had the form of fine cytoplasmic particles consistent with the known lysosomal occurrence of cathepsin B. Cells stained by the post-coupling method using the tryptase substrates Z-Ala-Ala-Lys-MNA and D-Val-Leu-Arg-MNA showed a different distribution and morphology, with reaction product confined to mast cell granules. The differences between the cathepsin B and tryptase staining patterns were confirmed by differential extraction from cryostat sections with salt-free and high-salt buffers respectively. Biochemical characterisation of activities in the extracts with the 7-amino-4-trifluoromethyl coumarin (AFC) substrates Z-Val-Lys-Lys-Arg-AFC and Z-Ala-Ala-Lys-AFC and protease inhibitors confirmed the identity of the two enzymes. Selective inhibitors could also be used in histochemical incubations to distinguish between cathepsin B and tryptase staining.

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4-Methoxy-2-naphthylamine, ≥98%