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J Histochem Cytochem. 1994 Nov;42(11):1493-7.

In vivo demonstration of subcellular localization of anti-transferrin receptor monoclonal antibody-colloidal gold conjugate in brain capillary endothelium.

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Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine 90024.


To study transcytosis at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vivo, we used the internal carotid artery perfusion technique in rats. Brain uptake of the OX26 anti-transferrin receptor antibody (IgG2a) coupled to 5-nm colloidal gold (OX26-Au) was morphologically examined after infusion or perfusion into the carotid artery for 10 min. The brain tissue was subsequently perfusion-fixed with 2% glutaraldehyde. By light microscopy, silver enhancement of vibratome sections revealed staining of the vascular tree. Electron microscopy showed binding of gold particles at the luminal plasma membrane of brain capillary endothelia, endocytosis in vesicles (50-100 nm), and particles beyond the abluminal plasma membrane. Studies were performed with an IgG2a isotype control, UPC10. Internal carotid artery infusion of [125I]-UPC10 showed no evidence of brain uptake or binding to endothelium. However, microvessel structures were identified after silver enhancement of vibratome sections of brain following internal carotid artery infusion of 5-nm colloidal gold conjugates of UPC10 (UPC10-Au). The morphologically observed binding of UPC10-Au to brain microvessels may be induced by gold conjugation. These studies describe the use of gold conjugates of antibodies to delineate the subcellular pathway involved in transcytosis through the BBB.

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