The cellular origin of fibronectin in the kidney was studied in three experimental models. Immunohistochemical techniques that use cross-reacting or species-specific antibodies against mouse or chicken fibronectin were employed. In the first model studied, initially avascular mouse kidneys cultured on avian chorioallantoic membranes differentiate into epithelial kidney tubules and become vascularized by chorioallantoic vessels. Subsequently, hybrid glomeruli composed of mouse podocytes and avian endothelial-mesangial cells form. In immunohistochemical studies, cross-reacting antibodies to fibronectin stained vascular walls, tubular basement membranes, interstitium, and glomeruli of mouse kidney grafts. The species-specific antibodies reacting only with mouse fibronectin stained interstitial areas and tubular basement membranes, but showed no reaction with hybrid glomeruli and avian vascular walls. In contrast, species-specific antibodies against chicken fibronectin stained both the interstitial areas and the vascular walls as well as the endothelial-mesangial areas of the hybrid glomeruli, but did not stain the mouse-derived epithelial structures of the kidneys. In the second model, embryonic kidneys cultured under avascular conditions in vitro develop glomerular tufts, which are devoid of endothelial cells. These explants showed fluorescence staining for fibronectin only in tubular basement membranes and in interstitium. The avascular, purely epithelial glomerular bodies remained unstained. Finally, in outgrowths of separated embryonic glomeruli, the cross-reacting fibronectin antibodies revealed two populations of cells: one devoid of fibronectin and another expressing fibronectin in strong fibrillar and granular patterns. These results favor the idea that the main endogenous cellular sources for fibronectin in the embryonic kidney are the interstitial and vascular cells. All experiments presented here suggest that fibronectin is not synthesized by glomerular epithelial cells in vivo.
The Journal of Cell Biology – Rockefeller University Press
Published: Dec 1, 1984
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