Morphological observations on the normal human cardiac glands

Anat Rec. 1978 Sep;192(1):59-71. doi: 10.1002/ar.1091920106.


The majority of human cardiac glands that lie immediately distal to the termination of esophageal epithelium are compound or branched tubular glands. They empty into overlying gastric pits. The glands of this region are often organized into lobule-like complexes by the surrounding connective tissue of the lamina propria. The secretory tubules contain mucous cells, parietal cells and endocrine cells. The mucous cell is the most common cell type observed and appears to comprise two populations. The majority are pyramidal in shape and show numerous spherical, electron-dense secretory granules. Profiles of rough endoplasmic reticulum are observed scattered throughout the cytoplasm and Golgi complexes occupy a supranuclear position in relation to forming secretory granules. Morphologically this cell type appears similar to the mucous neck cell of the fundus. Secretory granules of a second mucous cell type are mottled in appearance and show an area of increased electron density near the limiting membrane. Parietal cells are observed and appear identical to those in the fundus. The large number of endocrine cells present raises questions concerning the traditional concept of the function of these particular glands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardia / cytology*
  • Esophagogastric Junction / cytology
  • Esophagus / cytology
  • Gastric Mucosa / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron