Two monoclonal antibodies raised against laminin isolated from a mouse parietal yolk sac cell line were used for immunohistochemical studies of basement membranes of the mouse embryo and various fetal and adult tissues. No immunoreactivity with either of the two monoclonal antibodies could be detected in the preimplantation-stage embryos, although it has been shown that these embryos contain extracellular laminin reactive with the conventional polyclonal antilaminin antibodies. Reichert's membrane in early postimplantation stages of development reacted with the monoclonal antibody LAM-I but not with the antibody LAM-II. However, from day 8 of pregnancy onward the Reichert's membrane reacted with both antibodies. Basement membranes of the embryo proper were unreactive with both monoclonal antibodies until day 12 of pregnancy. By day 14 some basement membranes of the fetal tissues became reactive with one or both monoclonal antibodies, whereas others remained still unreactive. In the 17-d fetus and the newborn mouse most of the basement membranes reacted with both monoclonal antibodies, whereas others still reacted with only one. Similar heterogeneity in the immunoreactivity of basement membranes of various tissues was noted in the adult mouse as well. These results indicate that the immunoreactivity of laminin in the extracellular matrix changes during development and that the basement membranes in various anatomic locations display heterogeneity even in the adult mouse.

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