The mesothelium: a histochemical study of resting mesothelial cells

J Pathol. 1980 Nov;132(3):273-84. doi: 10.1002/path.1711320309.


Cytochemical investigations of the resting mesothelial cells of rats are reported. The study was performed on imprint monolayers obtained from various serosal surfaces by using 3% gelatin and 1% agar-coated microscopic slides. We found only a small amount of reaction product in mesothelial cells after cytochemical demonstration of those enzymes associated with oxidative respiration; however, abundant reaction product was found when the enzymes associated with the pentose phosphate path were sought. These findings suggest that this latter respiratory mechanism may play an active role in resting mesothelial cell respiration. Enzymes associated with cell membranes such as sodium and potassium dependent ATPase and 5' nucleotidase were readily found. The "resting" mesothelial cell also had demonstrable amounts of glycogen and RNA. It is concluded that despite the morphological suggestions that the resting mesothelium is not very active metabolically (Cascarano, 1964), its histochemical profile provides good evidence of a diverse range of functional and metabolic processes. The finding of similar cytochemical profiles, irrespective of the anatomical site of the mesothelial cell sample, is considered to give credence to the concept of the mesothelium as an entity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epithelial Cells*
  • Epithelium / enzymology
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Liver / cytology
  • Lung / cytology
  • Macrophages / enzymology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Serous Membrane / cytology*
  • Serous Membrane / enzymology