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Environ Health Perspect. 1980 April; 35: 165–169.
PMCID: PMC1568461

Angiotensin-converting enzyme: I. New strategies for assay


The disposition of converting enzyme (kininase II) on the luminal surface of pulmonary endothelial cells is well established. Further, it is known that there is a net conversion of angiotensin I into angiotensin II as blood passes through the lungs. However, little is known about modulations of converting enzyme activity that may arise through, e.g., changes in the quality of inhalants, blood flow, or blood oxygenation. There are few data on the effects of lung disease. A major barrier to studies to examine for pathophysiologic modulations of converting enzyme is that of assay. The enzyme can be measured in terms of the rate of formation of angiotensin II from a known quantity of angiotensin I. However, both peptides are biologically active, and lungs contain other enzymes capable of degrading them. We have developed a series of radiolabeled, acylated tripeptides to improve our ability to examine for changes in the net converting enzyme of intact lungs. The enzyme, a dipeptidyl carboxypeptidase, is capable of removing C-terminal dipeptides from a variety of oligopeptides. We have prepared benzoyl-Gly-Gly-Gly (I), benzoyl-Pro-Phe-Arg (II), benzoyl-Gly-His-Leu (III), benzoyl-Phe-Ala-Pro (IV), and benzoyl-Phe-His-Leu (V), each containing a 3H-atom in the para position of the benzoyl moiety. Substrates I and III have been used previously in photometric assays of low sensitivity. II is the acylated C-terminal tripeptide of bradykinin, IV is an acylated tripeptide analog of BPP5a (<Glu-Lys-Trp-Ala-Pro) and V is the acylated C-terminal tripeptide of angiotensin I. These substrates can be used in vitro or in vivo to measure converting enzyme. The 3H-labeled product is separable by partitioning between an organic solvent and acidified aqueous solution. The product is quantified by scintillation counting of the organic phase. The choice of substrate depends on the goals of the experiment: substrate I or III when wide variations in substrate concentrations are needed but high sensitivity is not; substrate IV when high sensitivity is needed.

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