Regulatory Changes of N-Acetylgalactosamine Terminal Sugar in Early Mouse Embryonic Paraxial Mesenchyme

Document Type : Research Article


1 . Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran

2 . Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Mashad University of Medical Sciences Mashad, Iran

3 . School of Health, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran


The development of vertebrae is a complex phenomenon that is correlated with distinct morphological and biochemical alterations in the paraxial mesenchyme and glycoconjugates. The purpose of this study is to investigate the glycosylation pattern in paraxial mesenchyme-forming vertebrae by using the lectin histochemical technique. Materials and Methods:In this descriptive-analytic study, B4G fixed paraffin sections of 9 to 15 day Balb/c mouse embryos were processed for histochemical studies using seven different HRP-labelled lectins: Glycin max (SBA), Maclura pomifera (MPA), Wistaria floribunda (WFA), Vicia villosa (VVA) which all of them are specific for N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc), Ulex europius (UEA1, binds to α-L-fucose), wheat germ agglutinin (WGA, binds to sialic acid), and Griffonia simplicifolia (GSA1-B4, binds to galactose terminal sugars). The sections were observed separately by three examiners who were blinded to the lectins. Grading was done according to the intensity of the tested lectins’ reactions with the specimen, from negative (-) to severe (+++). Data was analysed with SPSS software (version 11.5) and the non-parametric Kruskal Wallis test; p < 0.05 was considered significant. Results:Our findings showed that among the tested lectins, only GalNAc residue sensitive lectins showed regulated changes in paraxial mesenchyme. Reactions of WFA and MPA lectins with paraxial mesenchyme were severe on GD9. Reactions of WFA continued to GD15 constantly, while MPA reactions continued strongly to GD12, significantly decreased thereafter (p < 0.001), and then disappeared. VVA and SBA bindings initiated weakly on GD10 and continued to GD12 without changing. These reactions increased significantly (p < 0.001) thereafter, became severe to GD14, and later disappeared. The other tested lectins did not reveal regulated changes. Conclusion:According to these findings it can be concluded that only the GalNAc terminal sugar showed temporally regulated changes during the early embryonic development of vertebrae in mice. Therefore it most likely plays a key role (s) in the development of vertebrae, especially in the conversion of mesenchymal cells into chondroblasts. The other tested terminal sugars may have no role in this phenomenon.