The ultrastructural immunohistochemistry of oncofoetal antigens in large bowel carcinomas
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Seven large bowel carcinomas were examined by light and electron microscopy for the presence of five oncofoetal antigens. Ultrastructural investigations involved a novel method whereby thick sections of gluteraldehyde-fixed material were cut on a vibratome and then labelled using slight modifications of a standard unlabelled antibody-enzyme (PAP) technique, before further processing.
Ultrastructural preservation, staining properties and the retention of antigen activity was seemingly better than that achieved by other investigators.
Specific, positive labelling for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), colon specific antigen (CSA) and pregnancy-specificβ-1-glycoprotein (SP1) was seen in every case. Clear positive labelling for placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) was seen in two cases.
Extracellular labelling was found in areas of cell debris, free lying or in phagocytic cells and on tumour cell brush borders. The pattern of intracellular labelling, however, was different for each antigen and reflected the probable sites of synthesis and release from the cells.
Thus CEA, a complex glycoprotein, was localised within the golgi apparatus, small apical cytoplasmic vesicles and mucous droplets in relatively well differentiated tumour cells. CSA, a chemically related glycoprotein, had a similar, but less dense distribution. SP1, by contrast, was localised within basally-located vesicles associated with the ribosomal endoplasmic reticulum and appeared to be released and persist as debris or taken up by phagocytic cells below the basal lamina. PLAP and HCG, both proteins, were found within simple single membrane-bound vesicles within relatively undifferentiated cells.
Key wordsImmunohistochemistry Ultrastructure Oncofoetal Antigens Bowel Carcinoma
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