The molecular sieve with size- and charge selectivity in ovarian follicles, the so-called blood-follicle barrier (BFB), was examined during follicular development under physiological conditions to reveal ovarian structures responsible for the BFB by using our in vivo cryotechnique' (IVCT). Mouse ovary specimens were prepared with different methods including IVCT, immersion, or perfusion chemical fixation and quick-freezing following resection or perfusion. Their paraffin sections or cryosections were stained with hematoxylin-eosin or immunostained for serum proteins with different molecular weights: albumin, immunoglobulin (lg) G1 heavy chain, inter-α-trypsin inhibitor (IαI), fibrinogen, and IgM. Their immunoreactivity was better preserved with IVCT. The immunostaining for albumin was clearly observed in blood vessels, interstitium, and developing follicles, but that of IgG1, IαI, or fibrinogen was significantly decreased inside the follicles. IgM was immunohistochemically decreased throughout the interstitium outside blood vessels. The immunoreactivities of IgG1 and IgM, as compared with albumin, were clearly changed along follicular basement membranes and around vascular endothelial cells respectively. These findings indicate that BFB functions throughout follicular development, and the follicular basement membrane and the vascular endothelium could play some significant roles in the permselectivity for such soluble proteins with intermediate and high molecular weight respectively.
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