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Expression of glial filament protein (GFP) in nerve sheaths and non-neural cells re-examined using monoclonal antibodies, with special emphasis on the co-expression of GFP and cytokeratins in epithelial cells of human salivary gland and pleomorphic adenomas

Publication Date
DOI: 10.1111/j.1432-0436.1986.tb00401.x
  • Original Articles
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract We describe two novel monoclonal antibodies specific for glial filament protein (GFP), i.e., GF12.23 and GF12.24 (both IgG2a)). These cross-react over a broad range of species with epitopes located in the α-helical rod domain typical of all intermediate filament (IF) proteins. These monoclonal antibodies were used, in conjunction with other monoclonal GFP antibodies, rabbit antiserum to GFP, and various antibodies to other cytoskeletal proteins, to examine the occurrence of GFP in cells outside of the central nervous system of rodents, cows, and humans. We detected some scattered GFP-containing cells in the neural sheaths in some species but not in others, and we obtained different results when comparing the rabbit anti-sera with the monoclonal GFP antibodies. In the enteric glia of rats, we observed GFP-positive cells with all of the antibodies used, whereas in human intestine, the various monoclonal antibodies showed no reaction with any intestinal cells. Similarly, no GFP was detected in surface cells of the lens of cows and rats using any of the GFP antibodies, whereas some reaction was seen in murine lens tissue. We were also unable to detect GFP-positive cells in human, bovine, or rat liver with any of the monoclonal antibodies, which is in contrast to the reactivity of the rabbit GFP antisera with some stellate perisinusoidal cells of rat but not bovine or human liver. The possible reasons for the discrepancies between the different species and the different antibody preparations used are discussed. In addition, using double-label immunofluorescence microscopy, we showed that normal human parotid glands contain a certain type of epithelial cell that co-expresses cytokeratins and desmosomal proteins with GFP. The histological distribution of these GFP-positive cells suggests that they represent a subset of the myoepithelial cells present in this tissue. Cells co-expressing cytokeratins and GFP — in some cases, apparently together with vimentin as the third IF protein present — were also identified in tumors derived from this salivary-gland epithelium, i.e., pleomorphic adenomas, in which GFP-positive cells were relatively frequent in the myxoid and chondroid components, thus confirming the work of other investigators. Possible implications for the concept of histogenesis of these tumor cells are discussed, as are possible mechanisms resulting in the co-expression of IF proteins.

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