The extracellular matrix of human amniotic epithelium: Ultrastructure, composition and deposition

J. D. Aplin, S. Campbell, T. D. Allen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Ultrastructural comparisons have been made between human amnion extracellular matrix in tissue and cell culture. Immunochemical analysis of matrix deposited by monolayers of cultured amnion epithelial cells has also been undertaken. The basal cell surfaces are highly invaginated with an associated basal lamina that is more electron dense at the distal tips of basal cell processes where hemidesmosomes are frequent. Immediately below the lamina densa is a zone rich in collagen bundles. In the underlying stroma two types of fibril predominate, one striated of 50 nm diameter and one of 18 nm diameter. The observations suggest that at gestational term the epithelial cells are still active in the production of matrix. Secretion appears to occur into invaginations in the basal cell surface where a loosely organized mixture of stromal-type and basal laminal-type aggregates is formed. In culture on plastic, cells also deposit a mixture of basal laminal (type IV collagen + laminin) and stromal (collagens type I+III) components as well as fibronectin. However, segregation into a true basal lamina with underlying stroma does not occur in vitro, suggesting the need for an organized subcellular template to complete matrix morphogenesis. The in vitro and in vivo evidence suggest that the epithelium contributes to the subjacent dense collagenous zone as well as to the basal lamina.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-136
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Cell Science
    Publication statusPublished - 1985


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