BIOSYNTHESIS OF KININS
Kinins are potent vasodilator peptides formed enzymatically by the action of enzymes known as kallikreins or kininogenases acting on protein substrates called kininogens. The kallikrein-kinin system has several features in common with the renin-angiotensin system.
Kallikreins are present in plasma and in several organs and tissues, including the kidneys, pancreas, intestine, sweat glands, and salivary glands. Plasma prekallikrein can be activated to kallikrein by trypsin, Hageman factor, and possibly kallikrein itself. In general, the biochemical properties of tissue kallikreins are different from those of plasma kallikreins. Kallikreins can convert prorenin to active renin, but the physiologic significance of this action has not been established.
Kininogens—the precursors of kinins and substrates of kallikreins—are present in plasma, lymph, and interstitial fluid. Two kininogens are known to be present in plasma: a low-molecular-weight form (LMW kininogen) and a high-molecular-weight form (HMW kininogen). About 15–20% of the total plasma kininogen is in the HMW form. It is thought that LMW kininogen crosses capillary walls and serves as the substrate for tissue kallikreins, whereas HMW kininogen is confined to the bloodstream and serves as the substrate for plasma kallikrein.