Lectin binding patterns in normal human endometrium were examined by light and electron microscopy using seven different lectins (ConA, WGA, RCA, PNA, UEA-1, DBA, and SBA). For light microscopic observations, criteria based on the incidence and intensity of cells positive for the lectin staining were adopted to evaluate the different staining patterns of the proliferative and secretory endometria obtained by the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex (ABC) technique. At the light microscopic level, ConA, WGA, and RCA stained endometrial glandular cells in both phases. The number of PNA-positive cells with the binding sites entirely limited to the apical surface tended to be reduced slightly in the secretory phase. UEA-1 weakly stained the apical surface of glandular cells in the proliferative phase but not in the secretory phase. Among the lectins used in this study, DBA and SBA displayed remarkable changes between the phases. That is, in the proliferative phase they produced only a faint or slight positive stain at the apical surface, but the incidence and intensity of DBA- and SBA-positive glandular cells increased in the secretory phase. By electron microscopy, the reaction product of ConA was observed in the plasma membrane, endplasmic reticulum, nuclear envelope, and the Golgi apparatus, and the binding sites of RCA and DBA were observed in the plasma and, Golgi membranes. Between both phases, the reactivity of ConA and RCA showed almost no change. However, the secretory endometrial cells containing the DBA-positive Golgi apparatus were markedly increased in number compared with the proliferative ones bearing the lectin-positive organelles. These results indicate that DBA and SBA are useful for detection of hormone-mediated changes of normal human endometrium, and suggest that such changes are closely related to the Golgi apparatus.
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