After intravenous injection of [125I]-iodo-parathyroid hormone in the rat, uptake of the hormone was greatest in the liver and kidneys. Uptake was rapid, reaching a maximal concentration by 4 and 8 min, respectively. Extracts, prepared from both these organs at intervals soon after the injection of intact hormone, showed three main radioactive peaks when samples were subjected to gel filtration under protein-denaturing conditions. The first peak coeluted with intact hormone. The second eluted at a position corresponding to the carboxy-terminal fragments previously described in plasma, and the last eluted at the salt volume of the column. Microsequence analysis of the radioiodinated fragments, a method that has proved valuable for chemically defining the circulating fragments resulting from metabolism of injected hormone, showed that extracts of liver and kidney, prepared at 4 and 8 min after injection of the intact hormone, contained different fragments. The radioiodinated fragments in liver extracts were identical to those previously reported in the plasma of rats and dogs, fragments resulting principally from proteolysis between positions 33 and 34, and 36 and 37 of the intact hormone. Although the same fragments were also present in the kidneys, they constituted less than 15% of the amount present in the liver. More than 50% of the labeled renal fragments consisted of a peptide whose amino-terminal amino acid was position 39 of the intact hormone, a fragment not present in plasma. The rate of appearance of radioiodinated fragments that were chemically identical to those in plasma was more rapid in the liver than in plasma. Correlation of these chemical analyses with studies of the localization of 125I by autoradiography showed that at the times when the intact hormone and the carboxy-terminal fragments comprised nearly all of the 125I-labeled moieties in the tissues, the proximal convoluted tubules of the kidney and sinusoidal lining cells of the liver, which probably are Kupffer cells, contained the highest concentration of 125I. Preferential localization of immunoreactive parathyroid hormone to these tissue sites also was shown by immunoperoxidase staining in studies with unlabeled hormone. Our results suggest that, unless multiple renal mechanisms are present for release of hormonal fragments, one of which releases the circulating fragments preferentially, the liver, rather than the kidney, is principally responsible for generating the carboxy-terminal fragments in plasma after injection of intact hormone, and the Kupffer cells may contain the enzymes that hydrolyze parathyroid hormone.
Pierre D'Amour, Gino V. Segre, Sanford I. Roth, John T. Potts Jr.