Dynamics of epithelial cells in the corpus of the mouse stomach. I. Identification of proliferative cell types and pinpointing of the stem cell

Anat Rec. 1993 Jun;236(2):259-79. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092360202.


In a recent study of the corpus epithelium in the mouse stomach, eleven cell types have been identified and enumerated (Karam and Leblond: Anat. Rec. 232:231-246, 1992). The dynamics of these cells will be examined in a series of five articles, of which this is the first. This article focuses on the proliferative ability of the cells, as measured by the labeling index in radioautographs from mice sacrificed 30 min after an intravenous injection of 3H-thymidine. Furthermore, the ultrastructure of the cells found to be proliferative was examined in the hope of finding features characteristic of stem cells. On the basis of their labeling index, the epithelial cells have been classified into four groups. The first includes three cell types which do not take up any label and accordingly are non-dividing: parietal or oxyntic cells, cells named pre-parietal as they are immature cells suspected of being parietal cell precursors, and the rare caveolated or brush cells. The second group is composed of three cell types which are only rarely labeled and, therefore, divide only occasionally: zymogenic or chief cells, entero-endocrine cells, and cells named pre-zymogenic cells as they are suspected of being zymogenic cell precursors. The third group includes two cell types which are always labeled at a low degree and, therefore, divide regularly, but at a low rate: surface mucous cells, herein called pit cells, whose labeling index is 0.8%, and mucous neck cells, simply known as neck cells, 1.8%. The final group consists of three immature cell types with high labeling indices indicating a high rate of division: granule-free cells, which are devoid of secretory granules and have the highest labeling index, 32.4%, pre-pit cells, which possess a few dense secretory granules similar to, but smaller than, those in pit cells, 24.6%, and pre-neck cells, with a small number of secretory granules similar to, but smaller than, those in neck cells, 11.3%. These three cell types, as well as pre-parietal cells, are rapidly renewed, with the turnover times estimated at 3.0 days for pre-neck and pre-parietal cells and less than 2.6 days for granule-free and pre-pit cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Parietal Cells, Gastric / ultrastructure*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stomach / cytology*