Extracellular matrix is known to play an important role during development and maintenance of various tissues. In the present study, changes in two extracellular matrix glycoproteins, fibronectin and laminin, were investigated in skeletal muscle undergoing immune rejection. Purified antibodies against fibronectin and laminin were used to analyze the matrix by indirect immunofluorescence at various intervals after transplantation of extensor digitorum longus muscle in rats. Fibronectin and laminin were localized in the pericellular basement membrane zone of the normal myofibers; however, the cytoplasm was devoid of both glycoproteins. Transplanted muscle grafts underwent a process of degeneration and then an initial regeneration during the first 7 days. This regeneration effort ceased with the onset of muscle rejection in 14‐day transplants. At this time, fibronectin was seen in the cytoplasmic region as well as the extracellular matrix of myofibers and myotubes. At later time intervals, an increased intensity of staining for fibronectin was seen throughout the rejected muscle. In muscle grafts undergoing regeneration but not rejection (i.e., nonantigenic grafts), such an increase in the presence of fibronectin was not seen (Gulati et al., 1982). The distribution of laminin did not change during the rejection process and was localized in the basement membrane zone of myofibers and myotubes, although the overall configuration of the basement membranes was deformed and collapsed. It appears that the basement membranes are resistant to degradation, and staining for laminin persists in rejected muscle. These results show marked changes in the extracellular matrix of muscle undergoing rejection. The appearance of fibronectin during the initial stages of muscle rejection may have a causal relationship to the process of immune defence mechanism; however, the exact role of fibronectin remains elusive.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)