Endocrine cells of the human gastrointestinal tract have no proliferative capacity

P. Barrett, R. C. Hobbs, P. J. Coates, R. A. Risdon, N. A. Wright, P. A. Hall

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    36 Citations (Scopus)


    There is compelling evidence that the epithelial cell lineage of the gastrointestinal tract are derived from a common stem cell precursor, but the details of the subsequent cellular hierarchies remain uncertain. In this context, it is important to know the arrangement of cell proliferation that gives rise to the final cell populations. In rodents, a number of studies have been performed examining the possible proliferative capacity of endocrine cells, but a wide range of technical problems makes interpretation of these data difficult. Continuous labelling studies suggest there is potential for proliferation in endocrine cells but flash labelling studies have not been conclusive. In man there are no data on this issue. We have taken advantage of the ability to perform double immunostaining for operational markers of proliferation (Ki67 antigen) and endocrine cell phenotype (chromogranin expression). We demonstrate that there are no double-labelled cells in the normal stomach, small intestine or colon of fetal, neonatal or adult humans. Moreover, no double-labelled cells are found in pathological states associated with endocrine cell hyperplasia (gastritis, ulcerative colitis). These data indicate that the normal endocrine cells of the human gut have no proliferative capacity and that, in this cell lineage, population expansion precedes differentiation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)482-486
    Number of pages5
    JournalHistochemical Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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