Sialic acid specific lectins were used to localise isomers of sialyl glycosides in human trabecular meshwork (TM) at the ultrastructural level. A lectin immunogold method demonstrated that sialic groups were concentrated on the endothelial surface of Schlemm's canal (SC) and in the adjacent juxta-canalicular tissue (JCT). One sialyl glycoside, alpha(2,6) linked N-acetyl neuraminic acid, was present mainly on the luminal aspect of the SC endothelium and in the cytoplasm of the JCT cells. Another, alpha(2,3) linked N-acetyl neuraminic acid, was localised predominantly to the extracellular fibrillar material of the JCT. The existence of a topographical segregation of these two sialyl glycosides within the TM supports the view that highly charged anionic molecules may be of significance in regulating aqueous outflow.
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