An indirect immunoperoxidase staining technique was employed to localize the heavy metal binding protein, metallothionein, in rat liver and kidney. Immunostaining for metallothionein was observed in all hepatocytes and most renal tubular cells. This protein was not detectable, however, in cell types such as endothelial or connective tissue cells, indicating that metallothionein synthesis or accumulation is tissue- and cell-type specific. Hepatocytes from cadmium-exposed animals showed increased staining for metallothionein. The presence of metallothionein was also seen extracellularly within the liver sinusoids and renal tubules in both normal and cadmium-exposed animals, suggesting transport and excretion, respectively, of this protein.
ASJC Scopus subject areas