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Tissue Cell. 1993;25(1):87-102.

Localization of fibronectin in the frog skin.

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  • 1Centre de Biologie Cellulaire, CNRS UPR3101, Ivry sur Seine, France.


In this review, we present structural and ultrastructural localizations of fibronectin (FN) in the larval and adult skin of the frog (Rana esculenta) either in in vivo or in in vitro conditions. The ventral skin of the tadpole contains membrane-associated FN-plaques disposed around the epidermal and dermal cells during their climactic rearrangement. Moreover, lines of fibrillar FN are detected inside the breaks opened in the derived collagen. The ventral skin of the adult frog reveals FN distributed in the three superimposed tissues forming the skin, i.e. the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissue. In vivo, the epidermis is devoid of FN except for the mitochondria-rich cells (MRCs) which contain FN cytoplasmic granules. The dermis reveals two distinct collagenous networks showing FN localizations. A vertically-oriented network formed by thick tracts contains axis of fibrillar FN connecting the upper dermis devoid of FN to the FN-rich subcutaneous tissue. In contiguity with an horizontally-oriented network comprises thin tracts formed by clear spaces separating the superimposed collagen bundles of the dermal stratum compactum. These tracts contain aligned FN-granules. Inside the thick and thin tracts, the dermal and pigment cells present membrane-associated In vitro (in organ culture conditions) MRCs of the epidermis maintain their FN localization and, in addition, the stratum germinativum cells show cytoplasmic FN granules. Epidermal cells, in the vicinity of the cut edges of the cultivated skin fragment, modify their shape and acquire membrane-associated FN-plaques located between desmosomes. The FN localizations in these two collagenous networks of the dermis remain unchanged. In the same way, the FN-rich subcutaneous tissue is unmodified. In summary, the FN distribution in the larval skin is related to the cell rearrangement during the metamorphic climax, and, in the adult skin to the cell migration during the wound healing process and the pigment cell patterning. The cell migration is demonstrated, in organ culture conditions, by antiFN serum used as an experimental tool. FN is an important substrate used in the dermal breaks of the larval skin, and in the dermal tracts of the adult skin, both allowing the dermal and pigment cell migration.

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