Four different types of lectin were applied to the rabbit conjunctiva and the lacrimal sac to examine the distribution of glycoconjugates. The conjunctival epithelium is comprised of goblet cells and nongoblet cells. The mucus granules of the goblet cells were stained with soybean agglutinin (SBA), and the cell body of the nongoblet cells was labeled with concanavalin A (Con A). The glycocalyx of the apical surfaces of the goblet cells and of the nongoblet cells was labeled with Maculura pomifera agglutinin. The lacrimal sac mucosa is comprised of superficial light and dark cells, and basal cells. The cell bodies of the light cells were stained with SBA. The glycocalyx of the apical surfaces of the light and dark cells was characteristically labeled with Con A. These results suggest that the composition of glycoconjugates is markedly different between the conjunctiva and the lacrimal sac, especially in the cell surface glycocalyx.
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