Blood group antigen expression on vaginal and buccal epithelial cells and mucus in secretor and nonsecretor women

E. L. Navas, M. F. Venegas, J. L. Duncan, B. E. Anderson, J. S. Chmiel, A. J. Schaeffer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Blood group antigens on epithelial cells may influence bacterial adherence to mucosal surfaces. In the urinary tract the presence of these genetically determined carbohydrate structures may affect bacterial colonization of the vaginal mucosa and subsequent urinary tract infection. In previous studies the detection of ABH and Lewis antigen expression and distribution in tissues have made use of semiquantitative immunohistochemical staining techniques. To determine the pattern and intensity of blood group antigens on epithelial cells and in the mucus overlying them, we developed quantitative immunoassays that use monoclonal antibodies to detect changes in the expression and intensity of ABH and Lewis antigens on cells and in mucus. Vaginal and buccal cell specimens from 23 healthy women (15 secretors and 8 nonsecretors) with no history of urinary tract infections and known blood group types were analyzed for the expression of these antigenic determinants. The profile of ABH antigen expression was generally consistent with the ABO phenotype of the individual and appeared to be influenced by the secretor status; the levels of A, B and H determinants were higher for secretors than nonsecretors. Lewis antigens were detected on vaginal and buccal cells, and mucus. Lea and Le(x) antigen expression was greater on cells and mucus from nonsecretors, whereas the expression of Leb and Le(y) was greater on cells and mucus from secretors. Variability in antigen expression was observed among individuals with the same blood type and secretor status. The patterns of antigen expression were similar for the vaginal and buccal cell, and mucus samples of an individual but the amount of antigen generally differed for the various samples. These findings document the variation of blood group antigen expression on vaginal epithelial cells and mucus, which may have a significant role in susceptibility to urinary tract infections in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1492-1498
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993


  • antigens
  • blood groups
  • epithelioid cells
  • secretion
  • urinary tract infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Blood group antigen expression on vaginal and buccal epithelial cells and mucus in secretor and nonsecretor women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this