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Acid mucopolysaccharides in the development of the Pacific great skate, Raja binoculata McConnachie, Peter Ross


Histochemical treatments specific for hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulphate A/C, chondroitin sulphate B, and heparin, which are biological compounds classed as acid mucopolysaccharides, were applied to a series of Pacific great skate (Raja binoculata) embryos in order to characterize histochemically the acid mucopolysaccharides present in the embryos and to study the events leading to the situation of acid mucopolysaccharides localization in the adult. Embryonic stages examined ranged from early cleavage to immediate prehatching. A progression was observed from; 1. intracellular neutral polysaccharides in cleaving stages through, 2. a combination of extracellular neutral polysaccharides and weakly acidic acid mucopolysaccharides (hyaluronic acid) associated with cell processes in neurulating stages to, 3. extracellular strongly acidic sulphated acid mucopolysaccharides (chondroitin sulphates) in later stages, particularly in areas of cartilage development. In neurulating embryos hyaluronic acid appeared in considerable quantity between some adjacent tissue layers in a smooth layer form suggestive of some developmental significance for this compound. Hyaluronic acid also occurred in a similar form in lesser quantity in post neurulae (17-18 mm. embryos) in close association with developing gut and mesonephros. Results of histological tests in immediate prehatching embryos agreed with previously reported biochemical analyses of shark skins and cartilages i.e. chondroitin sulphate B occurred primarily in the skin and chondroitin sulphate A/c were a major component of the cartilage matrix.

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