Immunohistochemical analysis of a panel of human and murine markers on xenografted human vaginal mucosa: a comparative study
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Athymic nude mouse models have been extensively used to study biological behaviour of normal and diseased human tissues. In such models, immune-deficient mice act as hosts for cysts constructed from human material. A unique biocyst model that entails transplantation of human vaginal cysts into athymic nude mice has been implemented to study diseases of oral mucosa. To date, only one immunohistochemical study of this biocyst model has been reported. Nevertheless, conclusions made in that study were only based on the observed expression patterns of human and murine markers. Statistical assessment of immunohistochemical data had been omitted by the investigator. Therefore, the objective of this study was to further delineate the immunohistochemical profile of normal human vaginal tissue and human vaginal tissue that had been xenografted into nude mice.Experimental cysts constructed from human vaginal mucosa were xenografted into athymic nude mice and harvested 9-weeks post transplantation. Immunohistochemical analysis of normal human vaginal tissue and human vaginal tissue that had been xenografted into nude mice was performed using a panel of human and murine markers. Expression patterns of human and murine markers were assessed. Human markers included cytokeratin 1,cytokeratin 5, cytokeratin 13, cytokeratin 14, collagen type IV, laminin, elastin, fibronectin,Langerhans cells and VEGFR-3. Murine markers included collagen type IV, laminin,fibronectin, Langerhans cells and VEGFR-2. Staining intensities were quantified and statistically analysed using one-way ANOVA with subsequent Friedman’s test for multiple comparisons. Since the sample size was small, the power of the test statistic was enhanced by including Dunn’s post-test for further multiple comparisons. A strong positive expression of all cytokeratins was detected in both normal and xenografted vaginal tissues. Human markers that exhibited weak to moderate positive expression were collagen IV, laminin, fibronectin and VEGFR-3. Human elastin and human Langerhans cells exhibited strong and varying expression patterns respectively. Weak expression patterns for all murine markers were reported, with an exception of VEGFR-2 which was negatively expressed in all xenografted vaginal tissues. Significant differences (P<0.05) in the mean staining intensities between normal and xenografted vaginal tissues were reported for cytokeratin 1, fibronectin and Langerhans cells. There were no statistical differences (P>0.05) in the mean staining intensities for other markers.In conclusion, immunohistochemical studies proved that human vaginal tissue could not only survive in nude mice, but could also become active and develop structures necessary for survival, in this case, a newly formed stromal layer. The epithelium and stromal layer exhibited a human ecosystem.