Hamster airway epithelial secretory cells were investigated by light and electron microscopic cytochemistry to study possible changes in their carbohydrate content induced by human neutrophil elastase (HNE), an agent known to cause replacement of Clara cells by mucous cells in hamster bronchi. Characterization of secretory cell carbohydrates by the AB/PAS, PA-TCH-SP, HID-TCH-SP, and UD-TCH-SP sequences indicated the existence of periodate-reactive acidic glycoconjugates, but the absence of sulfated or carboxylated glycoconjugates in both treated and control animals. Differences were seen in the quality and quantity of historeactive carbohydrates throughout various regions in the lower respiratory tract. This was especially evident in the HNE-treated animals. It is conclued that the HNE-induced expression of the mucous cell phenotype is associated with an increase in the amount of neutral and acidic nonsulfated and noncarboxylated polysaccharides stored in the secretory granules of these cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Clinical Biochemistry