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J Histochem Cytochem. 1988 Mar;36(3):271-83.

Immunogold quantitation of laminin, type IV collagen, and heparan sulfate proteoglycan in a variety of basement membranes.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


A series of basement membranes was immunolabeled for laminin, type IV collagen, and heparan sulfate proteoglycan in the hope of comparing the content of these substances. The basement membranes, including thin ones (less than 0.3 micron) from kidney, colon, enamel organ, and vas deferens, and thick ones (greater than 2 micron), i.e., Reichert's membrane, Descemet's membrane, and EHS tumor matrix, were fixed in formaldehyde, embedded in Lowicryl, and treated with specific antisera or antibodies followed by anti-rabbit immunoglobulin bound to gold. The density of gold particles, expressed per micron2, was negligible in controls (less than or equal to 1.1), but averaged 307, 146, and 23, respectively, for laminin, collagen IV, and proteoglycan over the thick basement membranes (except for Descemet's membranes, over which the density was 16, 5, and 34, respectively) and 117, 72, and 64, respectively, over the lamina densa of the thin basement membranes. Lower but significant reactions were observed over the lamina lucida. Interpretation of the gold particle densities was based on (a) the similarity between the ultrastructure of most thick basement membranes and of the lamina densa of most thin basement membranes, and (b) the biochemical content of the three substances under study in the EHS tumor matrix (Eur J Biochem 143:145, 1984). It was proposed that thick basement membranes (except Descemet's) contained more laminin and collagen IV but less heparan sulfate proteoglycan than the lamina densa of thin basement membranes. In the latter, there was a fair variation from tissue to tissue, but a tendency towards a similar molar content of the three substances.

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