Using lectin histochemistry we assessed whether chronic bladder infection modifies carbohydrate residues of glycoconjugates on uroepithelial cells in rats. The bladder infection was produced by implanting a knotted silk thread with Escherichia coli into the bladder. One or 4 weeks after the implantation the bladder was excised, incubated with sixteen biotinylated lectins and stained. The bladder epithelia as a whole stained more strongly positive for eight lectins in the infected rats than in the control rats having a sterile silk thread in the bladder. In the infected rats, the superficial epithelial layer that stained negative for Arachis hypogaea (PNA) in the controls became strongly positive for PNA, whereas the middle and deep epithelial layers increased in staining for Canavalia ensiformis and six other lectins. These results indicate that chronic bladder infection increases carbohydrate residues on uroepithelial cells and may facilitate bacterial adherence to uroepithelial cells.

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