Kidneys of copper-loaded rats were investigated immunohistochemically with a directly peroxidase-conjugated monoclonal antibody against metallothionein (MT). By means of an image analyzing system the area and the staining intensity of MT immunoreactivity in the proximal convoluted tubule (PCT) cells were determined. In the present study we compared the data obtained by image analysis with analytically determined tissue copper and MT concentrations of rats fed a high-copper diet (1 g/kg) for 16 weeks and sacrificed sequentially during this period. Our results provide evidence that the area of MT immunoreactivity correlates significantly with tissue copper and MT concentrations. Both the copper and MT concentrations in kidney rose to a maximum at 8 weeks and remained constant thereafter. The observed rise in the staining intensity of MT in PCT cells to a maximum at 6 weeks, which subsequently declined, suggests a continuing redistribution of copper and MT in the kidneys even after a maximum of concentration copper and MT is reached in the tissue.
- Image analysis
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