Immunocytochemical study of pyruvate kinase isoenzymes in normal and pathologic human liver


Institut Biomédical des Cordeliers Laboratoire de Chimie Clinique et Biologie Moléculaire 15 Rue de l'Ecole de Médecine 75270 Paris CEDEX 06 France


ABSTRACT— In healthy human livers, L pyruvate kinase (L PK) was detected by immunofluorescence and double labelling in hepatocytes and M PK was detected in bile duct epithelial cells. Numerous associations between isoenzyme type and hepatological lesion were observed. In 10 cases of ethanolic cirrhosis, L and M PK were simultaneously observed in the hepatocytes of regenerative nodules, as they were in biliary neoductules; fibrotic regions were L and M PK negative and the hepatocytes in the anastomosing plate system were almost exclusively L PK positive, as in normal subjects. In 12 hepatocarcinomas, cancer cells had a double L and M specificity with variations in the intensity of the M isoenzyme, while the stroma reaction was L and M negative. In five hepatoblastomas, the simultaneous presence of L and M PK was also observed, but the consistently marked intensity of M PK argues in favour of the embryonic nature of this type of cancer. The results suggest that mature, highly differentiated cells exclusively and specifically synthesize one isoenzyme. A double specificity in pathology reflects the dysfunctional state of the hepatic and biliary epithelial cells or a dedifferentiated state which may terminate with the appearance of a cancer.