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The binding of Lycopersicon esculentum lectin (LEA) to the vascular endothelium was studied in the central nervous system of rat, mouse and guinea pig at different developmental ages, and in a gliosarcoma model. Our observations showed that LEA consistently stained the entire vascular tree in the spinal cord and in the brain of all animal species at all developmental ages investigated. In the tumor model, the staining of the vascular network was very reproducible, enabled an easy identification of vascular profiles and displayed a higher efficiency when compared to two other commonly used vascular marker (EHS laminin and PECAM-1). Moreover, our results showed that LEA staining was comparable in both vibratome and paraffin sections and could be easily combined with other markers in double labeling experiments. These observations indicate that LEA staining may represent an effective and versatile endothelial marker for the study of the vasculature of the central nervous system in different animal species and experimental conditions.
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