Lectin histochemical examination of rabbit bladder glycoproteins and characterization of a mucin isolated from the bladder mucosa

Melissa Buckley, Ping Xin, Sharlene Washington, Nancy Herb, Deborah Erickson, V. P. Bhavanandan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The glycocalyx of the mucosal surface of urinary bladder acts as an effective barrier against invasion by pathogenic microorganisms and injury from toxic substances in the urine. Defects in these bladder mucosal components could thus be important factors in the development of diseases such as interstitial cystitis and lower urinary tract infections. However, information on the nature of glycoconjugates of mammalian bladder mucosa is very limited. In this study, the glycoconjugates of rabbit bladder were examined histochemically using biotinylated lectins with specificities for a variety of carbohydrate moieties. Three [Artocarpus integrifolia (Jacalin), Datura stramonium (DSL), and Maackia amurensis II (MAL-II)] of the lectins bound predominantly to the luminal cell layer, with decreased binding to the basal layers of the epithelium. In contrast, Ricinus communis I and Sambucus nigra lectins did not bind to the cells in the epithelium but strongly interacted with the subepithelial layers, especially the lamina propria. The intensity of the staining by Jacalin and MAL-II was significantly reduced by prior treatment of the bladder sections with O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidase, indicating that the ligands of these lectins are primarily mucin glycoproteins. In parallel biochemical studies, a high-molecular-weight glycoprotein with characteristics typical of epithelial mucins was purified from the mucosa of rabbit bladder explant cultures metabolically labeled with [3H]glucosamine. Quantitative analysis of the sialic acid, uronic acid, and hexosamine contents of delipidated rabbit bladder mucosa revealed a larger proportion of sialoglycoproteins compared with glycosaminoglycans. Taken together, the results of histochemical and biochemical analyses indicate that glycoproteins rather than glycosaminoglycans are the major components of the bladder epithelium, and that the former include a mucin. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1This investigation was supported by USPHS Grant DK 447511. 2To whom correspondence should be addressed. Fax: (717) 531-7072. E-mail: vbhavan@psu.edu.


  • Bladder glycoconjugates
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Lectin histochemistry
  • Mucin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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