In the small intestinal mucosa, four principal epithelial cell lineages are found - the Paneth, goblet, enterocytic, and endocrine cell lineages. These cell lineages are terminally differentiated, non-proliferative, and derive from multipotent stem cells near the bases of the crypts of Lieberkühn. Intestinal metaplasia of the stomach is considered to be a premalignant condition. Since proliferative populations in this condition are not well studied, this feature was examined using double-labelling immunohistochemical and histochemical methods; 20 paraffin blocks of small intestinal mucosa and 24 paraffin blocks of intestinal metaplasia of the human stomach were studied. Double-staining was carried out with MIB-1 as a proliferation marker, with Alcian blue for goblet cells, anti-chromogranin A for endocrine cells, and p-dimethylaminobenzaldehyde-nitrite for Paneth cells. Double-labelling showed that numerous Paneth cells and goblet cells in intestinal metaplasia were in the cell cycle, but endocrine cells appeared non-proliferative. Double-labelled Paneth or endocrine cells were not seen in the control small intestinal mucosa but scanty double-labelled goblet cells were observed in normal intestinal mucosa. In intestinal metaplasia of the stomach, there is evidence of cell-cycle deregulation in the goblet and Paneth cell lineages. These observations have considerable implications for the biology and histogenesis of Paneth cells, goblet cells, and endocrine cells, and the nature of intestinal metaplasia in the gastric mucosa.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.