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Murine monoclonal and polyclonal antisera, raised against the 38 kDa subunit of Echinococcus granulosus antigen 5, were used to investigate the tissue distribution of the antigen in hydatid cysts. Immunoreactivity was visualized by indirect immunofluorescence on whole protoscoleces, and ultrastructural immunocytochemistry utilizing colloidal gold-based labelling procedures on unsectioned and cryosectioned brood capsules and protoscoleces. In protoscoleces, the 38 kDa subunit of antigen 5 was localized at the interface of parenchymal cells and associated extracellular matrices, as well as along the interface of the tegumentary syncytium in the somal region and its basal matrix. Cytoplasmic labelling of parenchymal cells was rare; when observed, it was associated with vesicles and membranes in cytoplasmic extensions of parenchymal cells. In brood capsules, the antigen was associated with the external face of the plasma of degenerating parenchymal cells. The 38 kDa subunit occurs along the extracellular face of cell membranes, suggesting that antigen 5 is either a component of the membranes or associated extracellular matrices.
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