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Histochemical study of lectin-binding patterns in the rat vomeronasal organ during postnatal development

  • Lee, Wonho (Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medical Research Institute) ;
  • Ahn, Meejung (Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Jeju National University) ;
  • Park, Changnam (Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medical Research Institute) ;
  • Taniguchi, Kazumi (Laboratory of Veterinary Anatomy, School of Veterinary Medicine, Kitasato University) ;
  • Moon, Changjong (Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine, Chonnam National University) ;
  • Shin, Taekyun (Department of Veterinary Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medical Research Institute)
  • Received : 2012.01.04
  • Accepted : 2012.03.05
  • Published : 2012.03.30

Abstract

Histochemical patterns of lectin binding during development of the rat vomeronasal organ (VNO) were studied to determine whether glycoconjugates are differently expressed after birth. Three types of lectins, Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), and Ulex europaeus agglutinin I (UEA-I), were studied histochemically in the rat VNO at various stages post-birth: postnatal days 1 and 7, the preweaning period (4 weeks after birth), and at sexual maturity (8 weeks after birth). The free border of the vomeronasal sensory epithelium was positive for both WGA and UEA-I in rats of all ages; whereas, VNO receptor cells and supporting cells were positive only for both WGA and UEA-I from 4 weeks after birth. DBA reactivity was detected in the free border but less so in receptor cells and supporting cells. WGA and UEA-I, but not DBA, showed similar patterns in various ages. In the Jacobson's gland, WGA, UEA-I and DBA were detected in some acini from 4 weeks after birth but not at postnatal days 1 or 7. Collectively, reactivity for three lectins, WGA, UEA-I and DBA, increased in receptor cells and gland acini during postnatal development, possibly contributing to the enhanced chemoreception in rats.