Peroxisome proliferation has been induced with 2-methyl-2-(p-[1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-1-naphthyl]-phenoxy)-propionic acid (Su-13437). DNA, protein, cytochrome oxidase, glucose-6-phosphatase, and acid phosphatase concentrations remain almost constant. Peroxisomal enzyme activities change to approximately 165%, 50%, 30%, and 0% of the controls for catalase, urate oxidase, L-alpha-hydroxy acid oxidase, and D-amino acid oxidase, respectively. For catalase the change results from a decrease in particle-bound activity and a fivefold increase in soluble activity. The average diameter of peroxisome sections is 0.58 +/- 0.15 mum in controls and 0.73 +/- 0.25 mum after treatment. Therefore, the measured peroxisomal enzymes are highly diluted in proliferated particles. After tissue fractionation, approximately one-half of the normal peroxisomes and all proliferated peroxisomes show matric extraction with ghost formation, but no change in size. In homogenates submitted to mechanical stress, proliferated peroxisomes do not reveal increased fragility; unexpectedly, Su-13437 stabilizes lysosomes. Our results suggest that matrix extraction and increased soluble enzyme activities result from transmembrane passage of peroxisomal proteins. The changes in concentration of peroxisomal oxidases and soluble catalase after Su-13437 allow the calculation of their half-lives. These are the same as those found for total catalase, in normal and treated rats, after allyl isopropyl acetamide: about 1.3 days, a result compatible with peroxisome degradation by autophagy. A sequential increase in liver RNA concentration, [14C]leucine incorporation into DOC-soluble proteins and into immunoprecipitable catalase, and an increase in liver size and peroxisomal volume per gram liver, characterize the trophic effect of the drug used. In males, Su-13437 is more active than CPIB, another peroxisome proliferation-inducing drug; in females, only Su-13437 is active.

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