Scanning Microscopy


Lectin reactivity in epithelial apical cell coats of normal rat kidneys was compared to that from animals subjected to crystal inducing diets (CID). The aim was to see whether the absence of lectin reactivity in cell coats is related to intratubular calcium oxalate crystal retention. In normal rat kidneys, after a pre-embedding procedure, it was observed that at the ultrastructural level, reactivity was present but that the lectin specificity for the various parts of the nephron might have to be reconsidered. There was heterogeneity between the epithelial cells with respect to the presence of coat material in the tubular cell apices. Tubular epithelial cell apices from CID rats showed no obvious changes in lectin reactivity pattern. Lectin reactivity was present at the periphery of intratubular crystals but undetectable at true crystal attachment sites or reduced at cell apices in the vicinity of recently attached crystals or agglomerates.

After a post-embedding reaction procedure, wheat-germ agglutinin (WGA)-lectin reactivity confirmed the presence of coat material in the cleft between cell apex and retained crystal at crystal-attachment sites. The WGA/Au-10 nm reaction products were also seen inside epithelial cells. WGA/Au-10 nm reaction products mark a crystal matrix component inside intratubular and re-tained crystals. A similar matrix was also marked by an α-osteopontin ( αOPN/Au-10 nm) reaction product.

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