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Histochemistry. 1984;81(4):409-15.

Comparative enzyme histochemical study on the visceral yolk sac endoderm in the rat in vivo and in vitro.


Histochemical study of the visceral yolk-sac endoderm of the rat was performed in vitro (whole-embryo culture for 24, 48 and 72 h explanted at 9.5 days of gestation) and in vivo (10.5, 11.5 and 12.5 days of gestation) in order to compare the distribution and activity of various enzymes involved in the digestion and energy metabolism in both systems. It was shown that, both in vitro and in vivo gamma-glytamyltransferase and dipeptidylpeptidase IV are demonstrable in the apical cell membranes (membrane-bound hydrolases), while acid phosphatase, dipeptidylpeptidases I, II and acid beta-galactosidase are concentrated in the supranuclear vacuoles (lysosomal hydrolases), and cytoplasmic lactate dehydrogenase and mitochondrial enzymes (succinate dehydrogenase, NAD-dependent isocitrate dehydrogenase, cytochrom oxidase) are localized in the whole cytoplasm and mainly in the apical cytoplasm, respectively, of the visceral yolk-sac epithelium. In vivo, the activity of all enzymes increased until 12.5 days, but in vitro, this activity increased only until 48 h after the start of culture (corresponding to 11.5 days in vivo). Comparison of the yolk sacs at 10.5 and 11.5 days in vivo with those after 24 and 48 h in vitro showed that the activities of all the investigated enzymes were almost identical. Yolk sacs which were cultured for 72 h showed lower activities of lysosomal and mitochondrial enzymes than those at 12.5 days in vivo. It is concluded that the digestive function and energy metabolism of the visceral yolk-sac epithelium are almost identical in vitro and in vivo at 10.5 and 11.5 days.

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