Immunohistochemical Detection of Heparin-Binding Lectin in the Development of the Bovine Thymus


Abstract: Heparin is a heterogeneous mixture of highly charged glycosaminoglycans that can exert a variety of biological and biochemical effects. Increasing attention is being paid to its role in cellular processes such as angiogenesis, cellular attachment, growth modulation and smooth muscle cell proliferation. The characterisation of cellular receptors for heparin-binding proteins is a rational step in the quest to elucidate the biochemical basis of specific binding and heparin-mediated responses. We studied the distribution of heparin-binding lectin at the optical level during bovine thymus development on sections of fixed tissue using antibodies raised against this lectin. The presence of ligands accessible to the antibody which possesses binding activity can be inhibited by the addition of an excess heparin detected immunohistochemically. The reactive cells were present in both the cortical and medullary zones of the thymus. Heparin-binding lectin was localised mainly in the migrating macrophages and Hassall's corpuscles. Furthermore, the nucleus membranes of thymocytes and epithelial cells were weakly labelled. Binding sites were also present in some blood vessels.

Keywords: Thymus, heparin-binding lectin, development

Full Text: PDF