Applying Plant Lectins to Assay the Effect of Environmental Pollution on the Glycosylation of Human Placenta
G. Końska1, A. Pituch-Noworolska2, G. Kaczmarczyk2, K. Tyrkalska1, L. Zamorska3, J. Guillot4
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1Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Medical College, Jagiellonian University,
Medyczna 9, 30-688 Cracow, Poland
2Department of Clinical Immunology, Institute of Pediatrics, Medical College, Jagiellonian University,
Wielicka 265, 30-663 Cracow, Poland
3Department of Cytobiology and Histochemistry, Medical College, Jagiellonian University,
Medyczna 9, 30-688 Cracow, Poland
4Groupe de Recherche en Biologie Cellulaire et Environnement Universite d’Auvergne, Faculte de Pharmacie,
28 pl. H.Dunant, F-63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2005;14(3):319–325
Our study was designed to establish whether air pollution in urbanized industrial centers of southern Poland affects the process of glycosylation in a full-term human placenta. This process of glycosylation was analyzed by the quantitative determination of the binding of WGA and LCA lectins to placental villi. The study was performed on human placentas collected in 1990-91 and 2000-01 in regions of southern Poland differing in their degree of environmental pollution: the highly polluted areas of Upper Silesia and Cracow agglomeration. The Bieszczady area with low pollution was considered the control. The concentrations of nitrogen and sulfur oxides and the concentration of aerosols were used as markers of the degree of air pollution.
The direct immunofluorescence reaction of the placenta tissues with fluorescein-labeled (FITC) lectins was used. The staining of the placenta tissues was examined under a fluorescence microscope linked to an analysis system. A microdensytometric method was used to assay the amount of tissue-bound lectins. The results showed no significant effect of the three main air pollutants in the study areas in southern Poland, i.e. nitrogen and sulfur oxides and high level of aerosols, on the structure of WGA- and LCA-specific glycoconjugates in human placenta. However, the marked quantitative changes in the degree of lectin binding to placental cellular structures were noted within the last 10-year period in all studied regions.