The postnatal development in male Sprague-Dawley rats of hepatic glutathione S-transferase B (ligandin) in relation to the other glutathione S-transferases is described. The concentration of glutathione S-transferase B in 1-day-old male rats is about one-fifth of that in adult animals. The enzyme reaches adult concentrations 4-5 weeks later. When assessed by substrate specificity or immunologically, the proportion of transferase B relative to the other glutathione S-transferases is high during the first week after birth. At this age, 67.5% of the transferase activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene is immunoprecipitable by anti-(transferase B), compared with about 50% in adults and older pups. Between the second and the fifth postnatal week, the fraction of transferase B increases in parallel fashion with the other transferases in hepatic cytosol. Neither L-thyroxine nor cortisol induce a precocious increase in glutathione S-transferase activity. Phenobarbital did induce transferase activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene and 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene in both pups and adults. The extent of induction by phenobarbital was a function of basal activity during development such that the percentage stimulation remained constant from 5 days postnatally to adulthood.

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