Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary In the present report we analyzed the presence and distribution of various basement membrane (BM) proteins in normal blood and lymph vessels with special emphasis on BM-associated heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) when compared to the BM-components collagen IV, laminin and fibronectin. We found that normal lymph capillaries have a BM that contains only collagen IV and small amounts of laminin, but almost no BM-associated HSPG and fibronectin, while blood capillaries showed a BM comprising of all components tested for. Larger lymphatics, however, were indistinguishable from blood vessels on the basis of BM staining. Lymphangiomas showed a BM pattern similar to that of lymph capillaries. Our findings provide evidence that the differential staining of BM-components may represent a reliable method for morphological distinction between blood and lymph capillaries. A comparison of these results with the BM-pattern in other functionally specialized blood vessels (glomerulus, sinusoids) provides evidence that the BM-composition may have some major impact on the functional properties. Thus, it is conceivable that the lack of HSPG in lymph capillaries may be essential for a free influx of fluid and proteins into these capillaries, which may have been extravasated into the interstitium.
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