Acid azo dyes, most of them naphtholdisulfonic acid derivatives, were given intraperitoneally to rats and their effect on "alkaline" ribonuclease activity was studied in total homogenates of kidney cortex and liver. Acid treatment was used to release bound enzyme activity. Several of the dyes, including trypan blue, increased RNase activity in both organs 3 days after administration of single doses, while others, like Evans blue, were inactive. Activity was apparently bound to the sulfonic substitution in the 3, 6 positions in the naphthalene rings, substitutions in the benzidine rings being not critical. All of the active and most of the inactive compounds were taken up by tubule cells of kidney cortex and by reticular and parenchymal cells of liver. While the effect on both liver and kidney was obtained 1 day after trypan blue administration, RNase remained increased for only about 3 days in the first organ, and for at least a month in the second. However, repeated trypan blue doses increased liver enzyme activity for at least 9 days. Serum RNase activity was decreased after trypan blue administration. Ethionine administration together with trypan blue markedly blocked the effect of the dye on liver RNase activity; simultaneously given methionine partially reversed the action of the antimetabolite. This suggests that de novo synthesis of RNase is induced in liver by trypan blue. The action of ethionine on the kidney RNase response to trypan blue was less marked although significant; in view of the possible kidney uptake of the plasma enzyme, interpretation of this finding must be postponed. Results are discussed with reference to the mechanism of the structural specificity of the compounds used, cytological localization of the dyes and their mechanism of action on liver and kidney RNase.

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