Tissue distribution and ontogenic development

As described above, reductase activity is distributed amongst a host of different enzymes, and systematic studies on many aspects of this diverse enzymology, including tissue distribution and developmental studies of the human enzymes, are lacking. However, carbonyl-reducing enzyme activity is generally present in most human tissues, including the liver, lung, brain, heart, kidney, spleen, testis, and blood, and intracellularly, with a few exceptions, most of these enzymes are cytosolic in origin.73 Interestingly, NQO1, which has been associated with protection against carcinogenesis and mutagenesis, is expressed in many tissues, including epithelium of the thyroid, breast, colon, and eye, but is expressed at very low levels in the human liver. This contrasts with rat liver, which contains high levels of NQO1 and has been the enzyme's major source for purification.82

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