A variety of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPG) have been identified on cell surfaces and in basement membrane (BM). To more fully characterize HSPG in human skin BM, we used two monoclonal antibodies (MAb) directed against epitopes of the core protein of a high molecular weight HSPG isolated from murine EHS tumor. Indirect immunofluorescence revealed linear distribution of HSPG within all skin BM, and within BM of all other human organs investigated. In a study of the ontogeny of HSPG in human skin BM, HSPG was detectable as early as 54 gestational days, comparable with other ubiquitous BM components, such as laminin and type IV collagen. Immunoelectron microscopy on adult skin and neonatal foreskin showed staining primarily within the lamina densa (LD) and sub-lamina densa regions of the dermoepidermal junction (DEJ) and vascular BM. In neonatal foreskin, additional staining was noted of basilar cytoplasmic membranes of keratinocytes, endothelial cells, and pericytes. We conclude that the core protein of a high molecular weight HSPG is ubiquitous in human BM, appears in fetal skin on or before 54 days, and is present primarily in the regions of the LD and sub-LD.
Keywords: Antibodies, Monoclonal; Basement Membrane; Endothelium; Epidermis; Fluorescent Antibody Technique; Gestational Age; Heparin; Histocytochemistry; Humans; Molecular Weight; Proteoglycans; Skin; Tissue Distribution