Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 281, Issue 2, pp 367–374 | Cite as

Ultrastructural distribution of endogenous immunoglobulin-G in human term amniochorion

  • Nicholas A. Bright
  • Colin D. Ockleford


Maternal immunoglobulin-G (IgG) is known to be transported across the placental syncytiotrophoblast during the period when the human fetus is incapable of manufacturing these defensive molecules. In this study we investigated the possible role of the amniochorion, that surrounds the amniotic cavity in which the fetus lies, in the transfer of immunoglobulin. Endogenous IgG was localised in the amniochorion by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy and by ultrastructural labelling of ultrathin frozen tissue sections using the protein A-gold technique. Immunoreactivity was identified in the extracellular matrix tissues and necrotic amniotic epithelial cells. Healthy amniotic epithelial cells and cytotrophoblast cells of the chorion laeve were devoid o endogenous IgG. These results suggest a possible non-specific paracellular transport pathway between cytotrophoblast cells, which may conceivably contribute to the acquisition of passive immunity by the fetus, and offer a rational explanation for the presence of small quantities of maternal IgG in the amniotic fluid.

Key words

Placenta Amniochorion Cytotrophoblast cells Immunoglobulin G Immunocytochemistry Human 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Bright
    • 1
  • Colin D. Ockleford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pre-Clinical SciencesUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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