Altered hepatic localization and expression of occludin after common bile duct ligation

M B Fallon, A R Brecher, M S Balda, K Matter, J M Anderson
American Journal of Physiology 1995, 269 (4 Pt 1): C1057-62
Epithelial tight junctions form a regulated barrier that seals the paracellular space and prevents mixing of luminal contents with the interstitium. This barrier is composed of a group of proteins including the putative "sealing" protein occludin that appears to bind directly to a cytoplasmic junction protein, ZO-1. To study the interaction and regulation of these two components when paracellular integrity is altered, we assessed protein expression and immunofluorescent (IF) localization of ZO-1 and occludin in a rat model of hepatocyte tight junction damage induced by common bile duct ligation (CBDL). Protein levels were detected in liver by immunoblotting and IF localization by 3-dimensional reconstruction of serial 0.5-micron confocal microscopic optical sections. As previously described, ZO-1 protein levels progressively increased to threefold control levels 9 days after CBDL. In contrast, occludin protein levels decreased by 50% within 2 days after CBDL and returned to control values by 9 days. In control IF sections, ZO-1 and occludin colocalized, forming thin continuous staining outlining canaliculi. After CBDL, ZO-1 staining appeared discontinuous, and a punctate pericanalicular accumulation of signal developed around junctional areas. Occludin staining was also discontinuous after CBDL, but, in contrast to ZO-1, was not punctate and remained localized either in a linear fashion along canalicular margins or in a homogeneous fashion in immediately surrounding areas. CBDL results in changes in the expression and localization of the putative tight junction sealing protein occludin in hepatocytes that are distinct from those observed for the peripheral membrane tight junction protein ZO-1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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