The influence of estrogen on the subcellular localization and distribution of lysosomal components of preputial gland was investigated in the ovariectomized rat. Antisera of high titer and specificity toward high-density lysosomal lipoproteins of this organ were raised in rabbits. The immunologic effectiveness of the IgG fraction so obtained was confirmed by microcomplement fixation, immunodiffusion, and immunoelectrophoresis. By both direct and indirect immunofluorescence techniques, cryostat sections of preputial gland from the control animals exhibited pinpoint cytoplasmic fluorescence, of dimensions corresponding to those of lysosomes. In contrast, specific immunoreactive material in corresponding target cells from animals receiving 0.1 microng of estradiol-17 beta/100 g body wt only 2 min earlier was distributed more homogeneously, indicating release of antigen from the membrane-bounded organelles. Moreover, specific immunofluorescence became evident at cell surfaces and in peri- and supranuclear localization, sites essentially negative in the controls. These effects were intensified at 15 min, as well as by maximal physiologic dose (0.5 microng/100 g body wt) of hormone. The relatively less active epimer, estradiol-17 alpha, exhibited only very limited effectiveness by some of these criteria. These observations, taken together with independent biochemical and ultrastructural evidence, lead to the conclusion that structural labilization of lysosomal constituents and their translocation to the nuclear compartment are early correlates of estrogen action.

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