Basement membrane proteoglycans in mammalian skin comprise at least one chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and heparan sulfate proteoglycans, including perlecan. In this study, the origins of basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and perlecan were investigated both in vivo and in vitro. For in vivo experiments, pieces of newborn rat epidermis obtained by dispase treatment were grafted onto athymic nude mice. Three and six weeks after grafting, immunofluorescence analysis of the grafted skin was carried out, using monoclonal antibodies specific for rat basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and rat and mouse perlecan. While the isolated rat epidermis was shown to completely lack rat basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and rat basement membrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans, including perlecan, immunofluorescence staining of tissue sections from the grafted sites on mice demonstrated the presence of rat basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and rat perlecan on interfollicular and follicular basement membranes including that separating dermal papillae from adjacent hair follicle epithelium. In contrast, the basement membranes of all dermal capillaries were positive for mouse perlecan, but negative for rat basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan and rat perlecan, including the basement membranes of papillary dermal capillaries beneath the rat epidermis. These data suggest that basement membrane proteoglycans of the dermal-epidermal junction and hair follicle epithelium are of epidermal (epithelial) origin in vivo. Stratified rat keratinocytes cultured on a collagen matrix at the air-liquid interface showed the synthesis of perlecan, laminin 1, and type IV collagen in basement membranes, but not clearly detectable basement membrane chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan.
Keywords: Animals; Animals, Newborn; Basement Membrane; Chimera; Epithelium; Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans; Heparitin Sulfate; Laminin; Mice; Mice, Nude; Proteochondroitin Sulfates; Proteoglycans; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley; Skin; Skin Transplantation; Transplantation, Heterologous