Biochemical Evidence of a Kallikrein-like Activity in Rat Reproductive Tissues

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We performed this study to examine the presence of a kallikrein-kinin system in rat fetal and maternal tissues. Uteri and placenta from Wistar pregnant and nonpregnant rats were perfused to eliminate blood, and fetal membranes were washed several times with saline. Amniotic fluids were obtained without blood contamination by amniocentesis from eight rats. The different samples were homogenized and centrifuged (2000g during 20 minutes), and the supernatant was incubated with dog kininogen and 0.1 mol/L Tris-HCl buffer (pH 8.5) in the presence of peptidase inhibitors. Kinins released were measured by radioimmunoassay. Kininogenase activity was found in rat uteri, placental vessels, amniotic fluids, and fetal membranes. The enzymes were present in active but mostly in inactive forms. The kallikrein-like enzymes found in the different preparations and rat urinary kallikrein used as control had similar molecular weights, immunologic characteristics, and inhibition profiles with protease inhibitors. We conclude that kallikrein-like enzymes are present in rat organs of reproduction. These data suggest that kinins released locally may act as paracrine hormones in the regulation of blood pressure during pregnancy.

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