Regional differences in quantities of histochemically detectable mucosubstances in nasal, paranasal, and nasopharyngeal epithelium of the bonnet monkey

J Histochem Cytochem. 1987 Mar;35(3):279-86. doi: 10.1177/35.3.2434556.


Inhaled irritants induce secretory cell hyperplasia in nasal epithelium of animals. To characterize this response histochemically it is first important to know the histochemical character and distribution of epithelial mucosubstance in the normal nasal cavity. An automated image analyzing method was used to detect and quantitate acidic, neutral, and sulfated mucosubstances in the epithelium lining the nasal and paranasal airways of eight bonnet monkeys. Tissue sections 2 micron thick from defined regions of these airways were stained with either alcian blue/periodic acid-Schiff to demonstrate acid and neutral mucosubstances or high iron diamine to demonstrate sulfated mucins. Respiratory epithelium covering maxilloturbinates had the largest volume of stainable mucosubstance per unit surface area of basal lamina, whereas the maxillary sinus epithelium had the least. There was a general anteroposterior increase in the quantity of total epithelial mucosubstance along the septal and lateral walls of the nasal cavity, and there was more acidic than neutral mucosubstance in the posterior nasal airway than in the anterior. Epithelial mucosubstance in the maxillary sinus was predominantly neutral. Therefore, we conclude that there are substantial regional quantitative differences in stainable mucosubstances in the primate nasal epithelium which must be considered when examining nasal mucosa for irritant-induced changes in epithelial mucins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelium / analysis
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / analysis*
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Mucins / analysis*
  • Mucoproteins / analysis*
  • Nasal Cavity / analysis*
  • Nasopharynx / analysis*
  • Paranasal Sinuses / analysis*
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Sulfates / analysis
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Mucins
  • Mucoproteins
  • Sulfates