The response of adult epithelium in contact with heterologous mesenchymes/stromas was studied in three digestive organs (forestomach, glandular stomach, and duodenum). After various tissues were implanted beneath the epithelial layer of adult mice, the epithelial differentiation was examined after sacrifice of animals at intervals up to 24 weeks. In the forestomach and duodenum, the epithelial differentiation was not affected at all by the tissue implantation. In the glandular stomach, in contrast, epithelial cells exhibited altered differentiation in which chief and parietal cells disappeared and were replaced by columnar epithelial cells with PAS-positive granules. These epithelial cells often formed immature villi. Such differentiation-altered columnar epithelium (DACE) was induced by implanting any type of tissue and even by sham operation, indicating that it was induced by disorganization of the tissue-implanted stroma. The size of DACE was significantly influenced by the stage of implanted tissue; 14.5-day fetal mesenchyme induced the largest DACE, and was followed by 16.5-day fetal mesenchyme, adult stroma, and sham operation. These results suggest the importance of stromal organization in maintaining epithelial differentiation in the glandular stomach.