We have localized angiotensin converting enzyme in rat brain and pituitary gland immunohistochemically with an anti-rat lung angiotensin converting enzyme monoclonal antibody. The distribution of immunoreactive angiotensin converting enzyme is identical with that of binding sites for the angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, [3H]captopril. Most intense staining is in the choroid plexus and subfornical organ, with intermediate values in the caudate-putamen, globus pallidus, entopeduncular nucleus, pars reticulata of the substantia nigra, posterior pituitary and anterior pituitary. Lower levels are observed in the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei of the hypothalamus. Within the basal ganglia angiotensin converting enzyme immunoreactivity is distributed throughout the neuropil; no cell bodies are stained, even after colchicine treatment. The punctate pattern of immunoreactivity in the anterior pituitary corresponds to the distribution of endothelial cells. The posterior pituitary is stained diffusely. Angiotensin converting enzyme is increased by 45% in the posterior lobe after pituitary stalk section, demonstrating that this diffuse staining is associated with pituicytes. Antibody specificity was demonstrated by the immunoaffinity purification of angiotensin converting enzyme to homogeneity from crude tissue extracts using anti-angiotensin converting enzyme antibody and protein A-sepharose. The apparent molecular weight by sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of lung, choroid plexus and anterior pituitary angiotensin converting enzyme is 175,000. In the substantia nigra and caudate putamen, where angiotensin converting enzyme is localized to neuronal as opposed to epithelial cells, the molecular weight is 165,000. The pituicyte angiotensin converting enzyme of the posterior pituitary is 170,000 dallons.
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