Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 239, Issue 2, pp 359–364 | Cite as

Analysis of the secretions of the subcommissural organs of several vertebrate species by use of fluorescent lectins

  • Robert Meiniel
  • Annie Meiniel


The glycoprotein secretions of the subcommissural organ were analyzed with the use of nine fluorescent lectins, specific to different sugar moieties. After exposure to Concanavalin A a bright fluorescence was observed in the ependymal cells of the subcommissural organs of all vertebrates studied (Lampetra planeri, Ameiurus nebulosus, Bufo bufo, Lacerta vivipara, Gallus gallus, Rattus norvegicus, Ovis aries). The fluorescence is abolished by the competitive sugar, α-D-mannopyranosyl. The intensity of the lectin fluorescence decreases from the phylogenetically lower to the higher forms, paralleled by a change in polarity of the secretion from a vascular (lower vertebrates) to a ventricular (higher vertebrates) direction. The strong affinity for Concanavalin A suggests the presence of a glycoprotein rich in mannosyl residues in the ependymal cells and a similarity of composition of this glycoprotein among the vertebrates.

Lens culinaris agglutinin and wheat germ agglutinin revealed fluorescent “rosettes” in the hypendymal cells of the sheep. Binding of both these lectins suggests the presence of a glycoprotein rich in N-acetyl-D-glucosamine.

In the underlying ventricular cavity, no fluorescence could be observed, suggesting that the Reissner's fiber does not possess the same carbohydrate constitution as the ependymal secretion of the subcommissural organ.

Key words

Subcommissural organ Lectins Glycoconjugates Vertebrates 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Avrameas S (1970) Emploi de la Concanavalin A pour l'isolement, la détection et la mesure des glycoprotéines et glucides extra ou endocellulaires. CR Acad Sci (Paris) 270:2205–2208Google Scholar
  2. Bernhard W, Avrameas S (1971) Ultrastructural visualization of cellular carbohydrate components by means of Concanavalin A. Exp Cell Res 64:232–236Google Scholar
  3. D'Uva V (1980) Steroids and subcommissural organ of Lacerta s. sicula Raf. In: G. Delrio, J. Brachet (Eds) Steroids and their mechanism of action in non mammalian vertebrates Raven Press, New York 213–220Google Scholar
  4. Ermisch A, Sterba G, Mueller A, Hess J (1971) Autoradiographische Untersuchungen am Subcommissuralorgan und dem Reissnerschen Faden. Acta Zool 52:1–21Google Scholar
  5. Fontaine YA (1980) Hormones et évolution. Ann Biol 19:337–366Google Scholar
  6. Goldstein IJ, Reichert CM, Misaki A (1974) Interaction of Concanavalin A with model substrates. Ann NY Acad Sci 234:283–286Google Scholar
  7. Hess J, Diederen JHB, Vullings HGB (1977) Influence of changes in composition of the cerebrospinal fluid on the secretory activity of the subcommissural organ in Rana esculenta. A quantitative histochemical and autoradiographic study by mean of scanning cytophotometry. Cell Tissue Res 185:505–514Google Scholar
  8. Hofer H, Meinel W, Erhard H (1980) Electron microscopic study of the origin and formation of Reissner's fiber in the subcomissural organ of Cebus apella (Primates, Platyrrhina). Cell Tissue Res 205:295–301Google Scholar
  9. Katsuyama T, Spicer SS (1978) Histochemical differentiation of complex carbohydrates with variants of the Concanavalin A Horseradish peroxydase method. J Histochem Cytochem 26:233–250Google Scholar
  10. Krstic R (1975) Scanning electron microscope observations of the rat subcommissural organ. Z mikrosk anat Forsch Leipzig 89:1157–1165Google Scholar
  11. Legait EJ (1942) Les organes épendymaires du troisième ventricule. L'organe sous-commissural. L'organe sub-fornical. L'organe para ventriculaire. Thèse Fac de Med Nancy (France) 1–223Google Scholar
  12. Lenys R (1965) Contribution à l'étude de la structure et du rôle de l'organe sous-commissural. Thèse Fac de Med Nancy (France) 1–225Google Scholar
  13. Leonhardt H (1980) Ependym und Circumventriculäre Organe. In: Oksche A, Vollrath L (eds) Neuroglia I. Handbuch der mikroskopischen Anatomie des Menschen, Band IV, 10. Teil. Springer, Heidelberg, Berlin, New York 177–665Google Scholar
  14. Lis H, Sharon N (1973) The biochemistry of plant lectins (phytohemagglutinins). Ann Rev Biochem 42:541–574Google Scholar
  15. Lis H, Sharon N (1977) Lectins: their chemistry and application to immunology. In: Sela M (ed) The antigens vol 4, Academic Press, New York-London pp 429–529Google Scholar
  16. Lösecke W, Naumann W, Sterba G (1984) Preparation and discharge of secretion in the subcommissural organ of the rat. An electron-microscopic immunocytochemical study. Cell Tissue Res 235:201–206Google Scholar
  17. Meiniel A, Hartwig HG (1980) Indoleamines in the pineal complex of Lampetra planeri (Petromyzontidae). A fluorescence microscopic and microspectrofluorimetric study. J Neural Trans 48:65–83Google Scholar
  18. Oksche A (1961) Vergleichende Untersuchungen über die sekretorische Aktivität des Subkommissuralorgans und den Gliacharakter seiner Zellen. Z Zellforsch 57:230–326Google Scholar
  19. Oksche A (1962) Histologische, histochemische und experimentelle Studien am Subkommissuralorgan von Anuren (mit Hinweisen auf den Epiphysenkomplex). Z Zellforsch 57:240–326Google Scholar
  20. Oksche A (1969) The subcommissural organ. J Neuro-Visc Rel. Suppl IX:111–139Google Scholar
  21. Palkovits M (1965) Morphology and function of the subcommissural organ. Studia Biologica 4 J. Szentágothai (Ed) Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest (Pub) 1–105Google Scholar
  22. Pesehke P, Kuhlmann WD, Wurster K (1983) Histological detection of lectin binding sites in human gastrointestinal mucosa. Experientia 39:286–287Google Scholar
  23. Rodríguez EM, Oksche A, Kein S, Rodríguez S, Yulis R (1984a) Comparative immunocytochemical study of the subcommissural organ. Cell Tissue Res 237:427–441Google Scholar
  24. Rodríguez EM, Oksche A, Hein S, Rodríguez S, Yulis R (1984b) Spatial and structural interrelationships between secretory cells of the subcommissural organ and blood vessels. An immunocytochemical study. Cell Tissue Res 237:443–449Google Scholar
  25. Roth J (1978) The lectins. Molecular probes in cell biology and membrane research. Exp Pathol Suppl 3:1–186Google Scholar
  26. Sandoz D, Roland JC (1976) Radioautographic study of glycoproteins and polyglycans. J Microsc Biol Cell 27:207–214Google Scholar
  27. Sato A, Spicer SS (1982) Ultrastructural visualization of galactose in the glycoprotein of gastric surface cells with a peanut lectin conjugate. Histochem J 14:125–138Google Scholar
  28. Schrével J, Gros D, Monsigny M (1981) Cytochemistry of cell glycoconjugates. Progr Histochem Cytochem 14:1–269Google Scholar
  29. Sterba G, Kleim I, Naumann W, Petter H (1981) Immunocytochemical investigation of the subcommissural organ in the rat. Cell Tissue Res 218:659–662Google Scholar
  30. Sterba G, Kiessig Chr, Naumann W, Petter H, Kleim I (1982) The secretion of the subcommissural organ. A comparative immunocytochemical investigation. Cell Tissue Res 226:427–439Google Scholar
  31. Tulsi RS, Kennaway DJ (1979) Observations on the secretions of the subcommissural organ and the pineal organ in the adult brush-tailed possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Neuroendocrinol 28:264–272Google Scholar
  32. Vullings HGB, Diederen JHB (1983) A comparative histochemical and immunocytochemical study on the secretory material in the subcommissural organ of Rana temporaria L.. Histochemistry 77:405–414Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Meiniel
    • 1
  • Annie Meiniel
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie animale et ERA CNRS n∘ 408, Université de Clermont-Ferrand IIAubièreFrance

Personalised recommendations