Histochemistry of complex carbohydrates in the ceruminous glands of the goat

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The localization and chemical nature of complex carbohydrates in the ceruminous glands of the Japanese miniature (Shiba) goat were studied using light and electron microscopic histochemical methods, particularly lectin histochemistry. The epithelial cells and luminal secretion of the caprine ceruminous glands contained large amounts of neutral and smaller amounts of acidic glycoconjugates with different terminal sugars (α-D-mannose, α-L-fucose, α-N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, β-D-galactose, β-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and N-acetyl-neuraminic acid). Several sugars (α-L-fucose, β-D-galactose, β-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine, and N-acetyl-neuraminic acid) were also detectable in the secretion of the sebaceous glands. The results obtained are discussed with regard to the specific function of the glandular secretion mixture. The complex glycoconjugates found in the ceruminous gland secretion may control viscoelasticity of and bacterial proliferation within the cerumen in order to protect the external auditory canal against physical damage or microbial attacks.

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