Proteoglycan in fast-frozen, freeze-dried, plastic-embedded rabbit arteries
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In contrast to glutaraldehyde-fixed vascular tissue with or without staining with cationic dye, the nonfibrous extracellular matrix of fast-frozen, freeze-dried rabbit aorta and renal artery contained a continuous reticulum of fine filaments, closely associated with collagen, elastin, and smooth muscle cells. Three morphologically distinct types of filament were distinguished; one type was selectively sensitive to chondroitinase ABC degradation, and therefore contains chondroitin and/or dermatan sulfate. The remaining filaments of the reticulum may represent the protein core of the proteoglycan monomer, and the hyaluronic acid backbone of the aggregate. Filaments associated with the surface of smooth muscle cells were usually linked to a continuous filament parallel to the cell surface, which was degraded by heparitinase and therefore contains heparan sulfate. The filaments linked directly to the cell surface were not degraded by either enzyme. The preservation of PG in fast-frozen material provides a significant improvement over that obtained by any presently available technique.
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