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Confocal immunofluorescence localization of collagen types I, III, IV, V and VI and their ultrastructural organization in term human fetal membranes

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/07/1993
Issue number4
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)385-406
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The distribution of collagen types I, III, IV, V and VI in term human fetal membranes was examined using conventional and confocal indirect immunofluorescence techniques. Collagens I and III were present in most of the layers of fetal membranes except in the trophoblast layer contrary to what has been previously reported. Although collagen IV is considered to be a basement membrane component our study, using monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies, showed its consistent presence in the spongy and reticular layers in high intensity. This was first report on the distribution of type V collagen in the chorion where it was found in the reticular and in the trophoblast layers. Type VI collagen was present mainly in the amnion and the reticular layer. The ultrastructural examination of the extracellular matrix showed that the main fibrous skeleton of the fetal membranes was formed of large banded fibres (Ultrastructurally identical to collagens types I and III) connected together and to the epithelial basement membranes by networks of unbanded filaments (collagen types V, VI and other components). The extensive and continuous networks formed by these collagens may be a major factor responsible for the mechanical integrity of the fetal membranes.