Electron microscopic immunostaining of rat duodenum and incisor tooth was used to examine the location of four known components of the basement-membrane region: type IV collagen, laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, and fibronectin. Antibodies or antisera against these substances were localized by direct or indirect peroxidase methods on 60-microns thick slices of formaldehyde-fixed tissues. In the basement-membrane region of the duodenal epithelium, enamel-organ epithelium, and blood-vessel endothelium, immunostaining for all four components was observed in the basal lamina (also called lamina densa). The bulk of the lamina lucida (rara) was unstained, but it was traversed by narrow projections of the basal lamina that were immunostained for all four components. In the subbasement-membrane fibrous elements or reticular lamina, immunostaining was confined to occasional "bridges" extending from the epithelial basal-lamina to that of adjacent capillaries. The joint presence of type IV collagen, laminin, heparan sulfate proteoglycan, and fibronectin in the basal lamina indicates that these substances do not occur in separate layers but are integrated into a common structure.

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