Xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) has been implicated in tissue injury following ischemia-reperfusion because of its ability to generate reactive oxygen species under these conditions. In order to elucidate its role in various organs, we quantified the levels of XOR mRNA expression and activity in developing human tissues. XOR gene expression was highest in the intestine and in the liver, which also showed the highest enzyme activities. By a sensitive RNA-PCR assay, low levels of the transcript were detected in the kidney, lung, cardiac muscle, and brain of all subjects studied. XOR activities followed the mRNA distribution, being low or undetectable in tissues other than the liver and the intestine.

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