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Cell Tissue Res. 1995 Jul;281(1):169-77.

Histology and lectin-binding patterns in the skin of the terrestrial horned frog Ceratophrys ornata.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA 01075, USA.


The terrestrial horned frog, Ceratophrys ornata, lives on a wet substratum and absorbs water through the ventral epidermis; water is lost by evaporation from the dorsal skin. Thus, this species may be useful as a model for determining whether or not skin histology and lectin-binding patterns, indicative of glycoconjugates, are related to skin functions such as osmoregulation and water balance. With this in mind, a histological and lectin-histochemical study was carried out on dorsal and ventral skin of aquatic tadpoles and of a young terrestrial frog of C. ornata. Sections of skin were stained with various dyes to demonstrate general histological features and with two horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-conjugated lectins, Ulex europaeus agglutinin (UEA 1) and soybean agglutinin (SBA) which bind to specific terminal sugar residues of glycoconjugates, namely L-fucose and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine or D-galactose, respectively. In early stage tadpoles both lectin-binding patterns were similar in the bilaminar epidermis of dorsal and ventral skin (i.e., each lectin stained the apical cell layer). However, metamorphic changes resulted in a young frog with typical adult-type skin composed of a stratified squamous epidermis and three distinct types of glands containing glycoconjugates in their secretions. Strikingly different lectin-binding patterns were evident in the epidermis from dorsal and ventral regions of the body. The epidermis from the dorsal region was stained by both lectins; in contrast, that from the ventral region, although stained strongly by HRP-SBA, did not react with HRP-UEA 1, indicating that few, if any, fucose residues were present in the ventral epidermis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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