We studied the simultaneous binding of galactose and mannose-exposing ligands in sinusoidal rat liver cells during development and aging. The galactose-specific receptors were visualized using 17 nm diameter colloidal gold particles coupled with Lactosylated bovine serum albumine (LacBSA), while mannose-specific receptors were localized by means of 5 nm diameter particles adsorbed with mannan. We observed the presence of four different classes of Kupffer cells in relation to the ligands bound. The percentage of each group of Kupffer cells varied in relation to the age of the subject from which the sample was taken. There were few double-labelled cells in the livers from newborn rats, with numbers increasing with age to adulthood, and decreasing again in the older animals. Cells without labelling were in the majority after birth, but they decreased in number up to adulthood and increased again during subsequent aging. The numbers of single-labelled cells did not change significantly during liver maturation. We hypothesize that the exposition of galactose and mannose-specific receptorial systems is regulated by developmental conditions.

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