Dipeptidyl peptidase IV is a cell surface ectopeptidase with widespread tissue distribution. Recently it was shown to display extracellular matrix—binding properties; therefore its role in cirrhosis is of interest. The aim of this study was to use monoclonal antibodies directed against the human CD26 antigen (which has been shown to be dipeptidyl peptidase IV) to study the distribution of this molecule in normal human and cirrhotic liver. Identical staining was obtained with the three monoclonal antibodies (TaI, 1F7 and TS145) and enzyme histochemistry. In normal liver (n = 11) intense staining of hepatic acinar zones 2 and 3 was present, but little staining was seen in zone I. Hepatocyte staining was confined to the bile canalicular domain. In cirrhotic livers (n = 23) obtained at transplantation, staining of regenerating nodules without a zonal pattern was present. In addition, we saw staining of the lymphoid cell infiltrate and proliferating bile ductules. In a minority of cirrhotic biopsy specimens (four) staining of the basolateral hepatocyte domain in regenerating nodules was seen. Biopsy specimens from hepatic allografts (n = 28) were used as disease controls. These samples all showed preferential staining of zones 2 and 3, similar to that in normal biopsy speclimens. Eleven of these samples showed staining of the basolateral and bile canalicular domains. In conclusion, the normal acinar distribution of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (zones 2 and 3) is lost in cirrhotic nodules. Furthermore, the altered membrane distribution of this molecule in cirrhosis and allograft rejection may allow increased hepatocyte extracellular matrix interactions during organ remodeling. (HEPATOLOGY 1992;15:1048–1053.
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