The basal lamina of high endothelial venules (HEVs) in human palatine tonsils was intensely stained with cationic colloidal iron at pH 1.5 and with aldehyde fuchsin. This basal lamina exhibited a thick and doubleor triple-layered structure forming small compartments, in which many lymphocytes were aligned. Digestion with hyaluronidase or collagenase eliminated both the colloidal iron and aldehyde fuchsin stainings of the basal lamina of HEVs. Treatment with chondroitinase ABC reduced colloidal iron staining, but did not interfere with the aldehyde fuchsin staining. Digestion with neuraminidase, keratanase, or heparitinase did not eliminate either the cationic colloidal or the aldehyde fuchsin staining. Digestion with neuraminidase reduced the colloidal iron staining on the luminal surface coat of the HEV. Electron microscopy of ultrathin sections revealed that cationic colloidal iron particles were deposited on the basal lamina of the HEV. The basal laminae of ordinary blood vessels were thin and singlelayered, and stained only weakly with cationic colloidal iron. The present study suggests that negatively charged sites in the basal lamina of HEV derive mainly from a proteoglycan complex containing hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, which firmly binds collagen. This topochemical feature is suggested to be involved in the fascilitating migration of lymphocytes after passage through the endothelial layer.
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