Immunocytochemical demonstration of peroxisomal enzymes in human kidney biopsies

Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol Incl Mol Pathol. 1988;54(4):207-13. doi: 10.1007/BF02899213.


Peroxisomes are particularly abundant in the proximal tubules of the mammalian kidney. We describe the immunocytochemical localization of catalase and three peroxisomal lipid beta-oxidation enzymes: acyl-CoA oxidase, bifunctional protein (enoyl-CoA hydratase, 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase) and 3-ketoacyl-CoA thiolase, in human renal biopsies fixed with glutaraldehyde and embedded in Epon. For light microscopy of semithin sections, satisfactory immunostaining required removal of the resin and controlled proteolytic digestion followed by the indirect immunoperoxidase technique. Brief etching of ultrathin sections with alkoxide followed by the protein A-gold method were used for electron microscopic localization of the enzymes. The immunoreactive peroxisomes were distinctly visualized in proximal tubular epithelial cells with no staining of any other cell organelles. The results establish the presence of catalase and of peroxisomal lipid beta-oxidation system proteins in human kidney. The immunocytochemical procedure described herein provides a simple approach for the investigation of peroxisomal structure and function in human renal biopsies processed for ultrastructural studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxyacyl CoA Dehydrogenases / isolation & purification
  • Acetyl-CoA C-Acyltransferase / isolation & purification
  • Acyl-CoA Oxidase
  • Enoyl-CoA Hydratase / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Isomerases*
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / enzymology*
  • Metabolism, Inborn Errors / etiology
  • Microbodies / enzymology*
  • Microbodies / pathology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Multienzyme Complexes / isolation & purification
  • Oxidoreductases / isolation & purification
  • Peroxisomal Bifunctional Enzyme


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • Oxidoreductases
  • 3-Hydroxyacyl CoA Dehydrogenases
  • Acyl-CoA Oxidase
  • Acetyl-CoA C-Acyltransferase
  • EHHADH protein, human
  • Enoyl-CoA Hydratase
  • Peroxisomal Bifunctional Enzyme
  • Isomerases