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Two mannose 6-phosphate receptors, cation-dependent and -independent receptors (CDMPR and CIMPR), play an important role in the intracellular transport of lysosomal enzymes. To investigate functional differences between the two in vivo, their distribution was examined in the rat liver using immunohistochemical techniques. Positive signals corresponding to CIMPR were detected intensely in hepatocytes and weakly in sinusoidal Kupffer cells and interstitial cells in Glisson’s capsule. In the liver acinus, hepatocytes in the perivenous region showed a more intense immunoreactivity than those in the periportal region. On the other hand, positive staining of CDMPR was detected at a high level in Kupffer cells, epithelial cells of interlobular bile ducts, and fibroblast-like cells, but the corresponding signal was rather weak in hepatocytes. In situ hybridization analysis also revealed a high level of expression of CIMPR mRNAs in hepatocytes and of CDMPR mRNA in Kupffer cells. By double immunostaining, OX6-positive antigen-presenting cells in Glisson’s capsule were co-labeled with the CDMPR signal but were only faintly stained with anti-CIMPR. These different distribution patterns of the two MPRs suggest distinct functional properties of each receptor in liver tissue.
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