Endocrine cells in human cardial glands

Folia Histochem Cytochem (Krakow). 1981;19(1):71-6.


The presence of argentaffin cells (possibly of endocrine nature) in the human cardiac mucosa has been reported. The nature of these cells has not been characterized further. Biopsies of cardiac mucosa taken immediately distal to esophageal epithelium were studied ultrastructurally and immunohistochemically in seven healthy volunteers. Of 62 ultrastructurally-examined endocrine cells 21 % were enterochromaffin cells (EC) of the gastric type, 13 % were enterochromaffin (EC2) cells, 56% were enterochromaffin-like (ECl) cells and 10 % were D1 cells. All endocrine cells studied were of the "closed" type, which never reached the lumen of the cardiac glands, being separated from the lumen by the cytoplasm of mucous cells. Immunohistochemical examinations were performed using antibodies to gastrin, glucagon, somatostatin, VIP, secretin, motilin, pancreatic polypeptide, insulin and substance Pl Studies were performed simultaneously on human pancreatic, pyloric and duodenal tissue. Positive reactions were obtained for all antibodies on human tissue. Cardiac glands endocrine cells gave negative reactions for all hormones studied. In conclusion, human cardiac mucosa contains a relatively large number of endocrine cells. The function of these cells remains to be determined.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardia / cytology*
  • Cardia / ultrastructure
  • Chromaffin System / cytology*
  • Enterochromaffin Cells / classification
  • Enterochromaffin Cells / cytology*
  • Enterochromaffin Cells / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron