The glandular stomach has two major zones: the acid secreting corpus and the gastrin cell-containing antrum. Nevertheless, a single gland lies at the transition between the forestomach and corpus in the mouse stomach. We have sought to define the lineages that make up this gland unit at the squamocolumnar junction. The first gland in mice showed a notable absence of characteristic corpus lineages, including parietal cells and chief cells. In contrast, the gland showed strong staining of Griffonia simplicifolia-II (GSII)-lectin-positive mucous cells at the bases of glands, which were also positive for CD44 variant 9 and Clusterin. Prominent numbers of doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) positive tuft cells were present in the first gland. The first gland contained Lgr5-expressing putative progenitor cells, and a large proportion of the cells were positive for Sox2. The cells of the first gland stained strongly for MUC4 and EpCAM, but both were absent in the normal corpus mucosa. The present studies indicate that the first gland in the corpus represents a unique anatomic entity. The presence of a concentration of progenitor cells and sensory tuft cells in this gland suggests that it may represent a source of reserve reparative cells for adapting to severe mucosal damage.
Keywords: Clusterin; Lgr5; MUC4; Sox2; brush cell; tuft cell.