Diagnostic Value of Lectins in Differentiation of Molar Placentas

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Pathology, Imam Reza Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

4 Immunology Research Centre, BuAli Research Institue, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

5 Department of Medical Ethics, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran


Distinction of hydatidiform moles from non-molar specimens and subclassification of hydatidiform moles as complete and partial are important for clinical practice, but diagnosis based solely on histomorphology suffers from poor interobserver reproducibility. Nowadays, pathologists rely on molecular techniques, however these methods are technically difficult, relatively expensive, and time consuming, and cannot be applied in all laboratories. Therefore, a relatively easy, time- and cost-effective ancillary tool, would be helpful. This study aimed to assess the role of lectins in differential diagnosis of molar placentas.
Materials and Methods
Lectin histochemistry with a panel of HRP-conjugated lectins comprising SBA, DBA, MPA, PNA, VVA, UEA-1, LTA, GS-І (B4), and WGA were performed in 20 non-molar (hydropic and non-hydropic spontaneous abortions) and 20 molar (partial and complete moles), formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples. On the basis of staining intensity, sections were graded and Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric statistical test was used to compare differences between samples.
There was a significant difference between the reactivities of LTA and UEA-І with syncytiotrophoblasts of molar and non-molar specimens (P<0.001). These lectins generally showed a moderate reactivity with syncytiotrophoblasts of molar group but did not react with this cell population in non-molar group. Furthermore, WGA showed relatively increased reaction with syncytiotrophoblasts of molar tissues compared with abortions, however, this did not reach to statistical significance (P=0.07). No major differences were seen in other lectins reactivities between the studied groups.
The present study showed that UEA-1 and LTA lectins may be used as cytochemical probes in differentiating molar from non-molar placentas, but did not differentiate partial moles from complete moles.


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