• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of janatLink to Publisher's site
J Anat. Feb 1996; 188(Pt 1): 197–205.
PMCID: PMC1167647

Lectin histochemistry of pregnant rat uterine tissues.


Glycoconjugate residues were examined in the rat uterus at days 10, 12 and 15 of pregnancy using 17 biotinylated lectins with specificities for a variety of carbohydrate moieties. A wide variety of glycoconjugate residues were detected in the cytoplasm of some antimesometrial and mesometrial decidual cells with lectins from Canavalia ensiformis (Con A), Lens culinaris (LcH) culinaris (LcH), Pisum sativum (PSA), Griffonia simplicifolia II (GS-II), Triticum vulgaris (WGA), Griffonia simplicifolia I (GS-I), Maclura pomifera (MPA) and Phaseolus vulgaris (PHA-E and PHA-L). Reactivity with some of these lectins was also pericellular and the glycoconjugate residues detected may be related to extracelluar matrix produced by decidual cells. Reactivity with PHA-E, demonstrating complex carbohydrates, was most intense in the mesometrial decidua closest to the trophoblastic giant cells and may demonstrate glycoconjugates involved in maintaining integrity at this maternotrophoblast interface. Lectins derived from Helix pomatia (HPA), Vicia villosa (VVA), Glycine max (SBA) and Arachis hypogaea (PNA) reacted only with occasional small cells in antimesometrial or mesometrial decidua, probably demonstrating alpha and/ or beta-linked N-acetylgalactosamine residues on lymphocytes or monocytes. The glycoprotein granules of granulated metrial gland (GMG) cells in the decidua basalis and the metrial gland reacted strongly with WGA, MPA and PHA-L demonstrating complex carbohydrates including sialic acid residues and tri/tetra-antennary, nonbisected N-linked glycans. GMG cell cytoplasm reacted diffusely with Con A, LcH, PSA, WGA, PHA-E and PHA-L. In some GMG cells reactivity with WGA was apparently localised to the Golgi region indicating involvement in granule formation. Pericellular reactivity of some GMG cells with WGA may relate to migratory activity. The lectin reactivity of fibroblast-like stromal cells in the material gland was similar to that of the extracellular matrix and it is likely that many matrix molecules are produced by the stromal cells. A range of lectins (Con A, LcH, PSA, GS-II GS-I and PHA-L) reacted with some blood vessels in the metrial gland at day 12 of pregnancy: this may indicate activation changes associated with the transendothelial passage of GMG cells at this stage. Lectins derived from Dolichos biflorus (DBA), Bauhinia purpurea (BPA), Lotus tetragonolobus (LTA) and Ulex europaeus-I (UEA-I) did not react with decidual and metrial gland regions. Lectin binding profile studies can provide further information on the events occurring in the uterus in pregnancy: investigations at the ultrastructural level are required to resolve further intra and extracellular changes.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (3.0M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bulmer D, Dickson AD. The fibrinoid capsule of the rat placenta and the disappearance of the decidua. J Anat. 1961 Jul;95(Pt 3):300–310. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Bulmer D, Peel S, Stewart I. The metrial gland. Cell Differ. 1987 Mar;20(2-3):77–86. [PubMed]
  • Damjanov I. Lectin cytochemistry and histochemistry. Lab Invest. 1987 Jul;57(1):5–20. [PubMed]
  • Damjanov A, Damjanov I. Isolation of serine protease from granulated metrial gland cells of mice and rats with lectin from Dolichos biflorus. J Reprod Fertil. 1992 Aug;95(3):679–684. [PubMed]
  • Holthöfer H, Virtanen I, Kariniemi AL, Hormia M, Linder E, Miettinen A. Ulex europaeus I lectin as a marker for vascular endothelium in human tissues. Lab Invest. 1982 Jul;47(1):60–66. [PubMed]
  • Hsu SM, Jaffe ES. Leu M1 and peanut agglutinin stain the neoplastic cells of Hodgkin's disease. Am J Clin Pathol. 1984 Jul;82(1):29–32. [PubMed]
  • Jones CJ, Aplin JD, Mulholland J, Glasser SR. Patterns of sialylation in differentiating rat decidual cells as revealed by lectin histochemistry. J Reprod Fertil. 1993 Nov;99(2):635–645. [PubMed]
  • Lang I, Hahn T, Dohr G, Skofitsch G, Desoye G. Heterogeneous histochemical reaction pattern of the lectin Bandeiraea (Griffonia) simplicifolia with blood vessels of human full-term placenta. Cell Tissue Res. 1994 Dec;278(3):433–438. [PubMed]
  • O'Shea JD, Kleinfeld RG, Morrow HA. Ultrastructure of decidualization in the pseudopregnant rat. Am J Anat. 1983 Mar;166(3):271–298. [PubMed]
  • Peel S. Granulated metrial gland cells. Adv Anat Embryol Cell Biol. 1989;115:1–112. [PubMed]
  • Ponder BA, Festing MF, Wilkinson MM. An allelic difference determines reciprocal patterns of expression of binding sites for Dolichos biflorus lectin in inbred strains of mice. J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1985 Jun;87:229–239. [PubMed]
  • Stewart I, Mukhtar DD. The killing of mouse trophoblast cells by granulated metrial gland cells in vitro. Placenta. 1988 Jul-Aug;9(4):417–425. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Anatomy are provided here courtesy of Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...