The beige mouse is an animal model for the human Chediak-Higashi syndrome, a disease characterized by giant lysosomes in most cell types. In mice, treatment with androgenic hormones causes a 20-50-fold elevation in at least one kidney lysosomal enzyme, beta-glucuronidase. Beige mice treated with androgen had significantly higher kidney beta-glucuronidase, beta-galactosidase, and N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase (hexosaminidase) levels than normal mice. Other androgen-inducible enzymes and enzyme markers for the cytosol, mitochondria, and peroxisomes were not increased in kidney of beige mice. No significant lysosomal enzyme elevation was observed in five other organs of beige mice with or without androgen treatment, nor in kidneys of beige females not treated with androgen. Histochemical staining for glucuronidase together with subcellular fractionation showed that the higher glucuronidase content of beige mouse kidney is caused by a striking accumulation of giant glucuronidase-containing lysosomes in tubule cells near the corticomedullary boundary. In normal mice lysosomal enzymes are coordinately released into the lumen of the kidney tubules and appreciable amounts of lysosomal enzymes are present in the urine. Levels of urinary lysosomal enzymes are much lower in beige mice than in normal mice. It appears that lysosomes may accumulate in beige mice because of defective exocytosis resulting either from decreased intracellular motility of lysosomes or from their improper fusion with the plasma membrane. A similar defect could account for characteristics of the Chediak-Higashi syndrome.

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