The tissues most effective in the enzymatic hydrolysis of acyl esters of p-nitrophenol by tissue extracts of the rat and dog were the liver, lung, pancreas, renal cortex, and testis; in the dog tracheal and vesical mucosae were also esterase-rich and the lens had appreciable activity. Esterase was at low concentration in the tissues of the rat for 4 and 5 days after birth, but an increase to adult levels soon took place except in the testis where the rise was delayed until puberty. The esterase values of the blood of newborn children were also low.
Two patterns of activity in tissues against these esters were found. A pattern in which propionate esters were hydrolyzed most rapidly was displayed regularly by liver, lung, renal cortex, and testis of the rat and also by dog, rabbit and human serum. A second pattern with progressive effectiveness in hydrolyzing fatty acid esters of 2-carbon to 5-carbon chain length was exhibited by the pancreas of the rat, rabbit, and dog and also by rat serum.
Esterase of the testis of the rat is located in the interstitial cells and its concentration seems to be directly related to androgenic hormone production. The increase of testicular esterase during puberty paralleled the increase of prostatic weight. Hypophysectomy caused a profound decrease of testicular esterase which was restored in part by gonadoptrophin. Artificial cryptorchism in the rat, causing elimination of germinal epithelium, resulted in an increase of esterase concentration although the total content of the testis slowly decreased.