Heterogeneous histochemical reaction pattern of the lectin Bandeiraea (Griffonia) simplicifolia with blood vessels of human full-term placenta

Research paper by Ingrid Lang, Tom Hahn, Gottfried Dohr, Gerhard Skofitsch, Gernot Desoye

Indexed on: 01 Dec '94Published on: 01 Dec '94Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


Bandeiraea simplicifolia lectin (BS-I) stains vascular endothelium in various species. In humans, less than 10% of the specimens studied exhibit a reaction with BS-I. In the present histochemical study, the reactivity of BS-I with placental blood vessels and its correlation with the blood group from mother and newborn child was investigated. Acetone-fixed cryosections of representative tissue segments of human full-term placenta and umbilical cord were stained with BS-I. The staining pattern of tissues from patients with different blood groups was identical, although the reaction of BS-I in the placenta was heterogeneous. BS-I did not react with the umbilical cord. Vascular smooth muscle cells at the insertion site of the umbilical cord into the chorionic plate, and endothelium deeper in the chorionic plate, became progressively stained. The endothelial cells and tunica muscularis of smaller arteries and veins in stem villi lost their reactivity in parallel with decreasing vessel size. Arterioles and venules reacted heterogeneously. Capillaries, trophoblastic basement membranes, especially epithelial plates, and sometimes the syncytiotrophoblast were labelled in several terminal villi. The data indicate that 1) the placenta binds BS-I to fetal endothelium independent of the blood group, 2) cell-surface antigens on placental endothelial cells are expressed heterogeneously and 3) cell-surface glycans are constituted in an organ-specific manner on human endothelial cells.