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Gastroenterology. 1987 Jan;92(1):1-12.

Serial observations of colonic carcinogenesis in the rat. Premalignant mucosa binds Ulex europeus agglutinin.


We evaluated certain histochemical tests for their ability to detect premalignant mucosa in the dimethylhydrazine model of colonic carcinogenesis. Biweekly colonoscopic biopsies of the descending colon were performed for 29 wk in control and dimethylhydrazine-treated rats. Biopsy specimens of the splenic flexure, rectum, and any visualized tumors were taken. The specimens were stained with periodic acid-Schiff to detect neutral mucins, high-iron diamine alcian blue to detect sialylated and sulfated mucins, fluoresceinated peanut agglutinin, and fluoresceinated Ulex europeus agglutinin. None of the first three tests consistently detected premalignant mucosa. However, Ulex europeus agglutinin, which bound to only 3% of control biopsy specimens throughout the course of the study, bound to increasing numbers of biopsy specimens in the dimethylhydrazine-treated animals, reaching a maximum of 90% positivity by 13-16 wk. Moreover, Ulex europeus agglutinin bound strongly to all biopsy specimens from tissues adjacent to tumors and to 93% of tumors. Mucosal atrophy and focal dysplasia were present more frequently in specimens taken from the rectum (but not the splenic flexure) of dimethylhydrazine-treated animals than of control animals, but there was no correlation between the histochemical markers and either atrophy or dysplasia. We conclude that Ulex europeus agglutinin binding is a consistent feature of premalignant colonic mucosa in dimethylhydrazine-treated rats.

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