Background/aims: To obtain a selective marker to identify endothelial cells is difficult, due to the heterogeneity of these cells. Most described markers perform well in some applications, but fail in others. The aim of this study was to identify a selective and specific marker for rodent microvascular endothelial cells, especially for use in studies on the vascular system of pancreatic islets.
Methods: A biotin-labelled form of the lectin Bandeiraea or Griffonia simplicifolia in combination with a streptAB-Complex with alkaline phosphatase was used to stain endothelium in paraffin-embedded tissue sections from C57BL/6 mice, Sprague-Dawley or Wistar-Furth rats.
Results: We were consistently able to selectively stain microvascular endothelial cells in lungs, small intestines, white and brown adipose tissue, pancreas and islets of Langerhans with the lectin Bandeiraea simplicifolia. Furthermore, we were able to visualise the vasculature in syngenically transplanted islets of Langerhans in Wistar-Furth rats and C57BL/6 mice. Attempts to stain rodent endothelial cells with antibodies against CD34, CD31, CD200, Ox43, von Willebrand factor and the lectin Ulex europaeus were not uniformly successful.
Conclusion: The lectin Bandeiraea simplicifolia is a versatile marker for rodent endothelial cells, and may be used to study revascularisation after transplantation of pancreatic islet in rodents.