Comprehensive Physiology Wiley Online Library

Endocrine Cells of the Gut

Full Article on Wiley Online Library



Abstract

The sections in this article are:

1 Morphology of Endocrine Cells
2 Techniques
2.1 Nonimmunocytochemical Staining Methods
2.2 Immunocytochemistry
3 Individual Endocrine Cells
3.1 Enterochromaffin‐Like Cells
3.2 Gastrin Cells
3.3 Somatostatin Cells
3.4 Motilin, Secretin, Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide, Cholecystokinin, and Neurotensin Cells
3.5 Glucagon‐Containing Cells
3.6 Peptide Tyrosine Tyrosine Cells
3.7 Enterochromaffin Cells
4 Kinetics of Endocrine Cells
5 Quantification of Endocrine Cells
6 Pathology
6.1 Gastrin Cells, Hyperplasia/Hyperfunction, and Somatostatin Cell Hypoplasia
6.2 Abnormalities of Endocrine Cells in Celiac Disease
6.3 Abnormalities of Enterochromaffin‐Like Cells
6.4 Endocrine Cells in Intestinal Metaplasia of Stomach
6.5 Hyperfunction and Hyperplasia of Enteroglucagon Cells
6.6 Spare of Endocrine Cells in Graft Versus Host Disease
7 Conclusions
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Toluidine blue staining of gut mucosa showing clear cells (arrows), as described by Feyrter ). Formalin fixation, 3‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 2. Figure 2.

Rat antral mucosa showing numerous gastrin cells immunostained by indirect immunofluorescence. Formaldehyde vapor fixation, 5‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 3. Figure 3.

Human colonic mucosa containing two somatostatin‐immunoreactive cells with short basal elongations. Benzoquinone solution fixation, 10‐μm cryostat section, indirect immunofluorescence. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 4. Figure 4.

Single somatostatin‐immunoreactive cell in epithelium of human duodenal mucosa, showing clear connection with lumen. Bouin's solution fixation; 5‐μm wax section; peroxidase antiperoxidase (PAP) immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 5. Figure 5.

Human fundic mucosa containing scattered cells stained by Sevier and Munger's silver impregnation technique. Enterochromaffin‐like cells can be distinguished by their closed appearance. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 6. Figure 6.

Electron micrograph of somatostatin‐containing cell from human gut. Cell is pear‐shaped and extends from basement membrane to gut lumen where it terminates with microvilli (M). Large (250–300 nm), spherical, electron‐dense secretory granules (G) are concentrated in basal half of cell. Glutaraldehyde‐osmium fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.

Figure 7. Figure 7.

Electron micrograph of two adjacent endocrine cell types from human gastric antrum. Gastrin‐containing cell (G) exhibits electron‐lucent and electron‐dense granules in basal half of cell, whereas somatostatin‐containing cell (D) displays larger electron‐dense secretory granules. Glutaraldehyde‐osmium fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 5 μm.

Figure 8. Figure 8.

Specific markers for components of diffuse neuroendocrine system. NSE, neuron‐specific enolase; Cg, chromogranin; NFils, neurofilaments; S‐100, protein S‐100; GFAP, glial fibrillary acidic protein.

Figure 9. Figure 9.

Normal human gastric gland containing several argyrophil cells revealed by Grimelius’ silver impregnation method. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 10. Figure 10.

Human antral mucosa with numerous neuron‐specific enolase‐immunoreactive cells in the epithelium. Formaldehyde vapor fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 11. Figure 11.

Neuron‐specific enolase demonstrated in endocrine cells and nerve fibers of human colonic mucosa with technique of indirect immunofluorescence. Benzoquinone solution fixation, 10‐μm cryostat section. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 12. Figure 12.

Numerous chromogranin‐immunoreactive endocrine cells in glands of normal human colonic mucosa. Bouin's fluid fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 13. Figure 13.

Chromogranin imunoreactivity localized to pleomorphic secretory granules in human enterochromaffin cell from gut mucosa. Immunogold staining procedure with 20‐nm gold particles. Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.

Figure 14. Figure 14.

Processing of mammalian preproglucagon occurs posttranslationally at dibasic amino acid cleavage points as indicated. In pancreatic secretory granules (A), proglucagon‐derived peptides are localized in different compartments [glicentin to halo and glucagon and glucagon‐like peptides (GLP‐1/GLP‐2) to core]. Enteroglucagon cell (EG) secretory granules contain glicentin, GLP‐1, and GLP‐2 immunoreactivities homogeneously distributed throughout matrix.

Figure 15. Figure 15.

Electron micrograph of localization of proglucagon‐derived peptide immunoreactivities in human pancreatic A‐cell secretory granules. Glucagon and glucagon‐like peptides (GLP‐1 and GLP‐2, see Fig. ) are restricted to core of the A‐cell granules (40‐nm gold, large arrows). Glicentin immunoreactivity is localized to electron‐lucent halo of secretory granules (10‐nm gold, small arrows). Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.

Figure 16. Figure 16.

Diagram of semithin/thin technique. Alternate semithin (0.5–1 μm) and ultrathin (60–90 nm) sections are cut from electron‐microscope (EM) block and mounted onto glass slide or EM grid, respectively. Immunocytochemical staining is performed on semithin section and selected areas may then be compared on adjacent ultrathin section by electron microscopy. Technique has obvious limitations, including low sensitivity and poor localization of immunostained structures.

Figure 17. Figure 17.

Electron microghraph of cholecystokinin‐containing cell (black arrow) from human jejunum. Adjacent semithin section (inset) has been immunostained with indirect immunofluorescence method (white arrow) and localization of immunoreactive material lies basally, in accord with distribution of secretory granules seen at ultrastructural level. Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 2 μm; inset bar, 50 μm.

Figure 18. Figure 18.

Diagram of preprosomatostatin molecule. Cryptic peptide (RSCP) is flanked at COOH‐terminus by somatostatin‐28 (SS28), which itself includes tetradecapeptide somatostatin‐14 (SS14).

Figure 19. Figure 19.

Diagram of double immunogold staining procedure that is used to localize two different antigens simultaneously at ultrastructural level. Two primary antisera (1° ab) raised in different species are applied to tissue section. Sites of antigen‐antibody complex formation are differentially localized with anti‐species‐specific immunoglobulin G linked to two sizes of gold particles applied as second layer.

Figure 20. Figure 20.

Villus of human duodenal mucosa with single secretin‐immunoreactive cell. Bouin's solution fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 21. Figure 21.

Section of antral mucosa from patient with high circulating gastrin levels. Hyperplastic gastrin cells can be seen packed in epithelium. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section, PAP immunostain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 22. Figure 22.

Gastric mucosa from achlorhydric patient showing hyperplasia of enterochromaffin‐like cells. Formalin fixation; 5‐μm wax sections; Sevier and Munger's silver impregnation technique, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 23. Figure 23.

Atrophic gastric mucosa with intestinal metaplasia showing presence of microcarcinoid tumor. Bouin's fixation, 5‐μm wax section, hematoxylin and eosin stain. Bar, 100 μm.

Figure 24. Figure 24.

Groups of endocrine cells in colonic mucosa of patient with graft versus host disease as shown by antibodies to chromogranin. The spared endocrine cells are packed together. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section. PAP immunostain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 1.

Toluidine blue staining of gut mucosa showing clear cells (arrows), as described by Feyrter ). Formalin fixation, 3‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 2.

Rat antral mucosa showing numerous gastrin cells immunostained by indirect immunofluorescence. Formaldehyde vapor fixation, 5‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 3.

Human colonic mucosa containing two somatostatin‐immunoreactive cells with short basal elongations. Benzoquinone solution fixation, 10‐μm cryostat section, indirect immunofluorescence. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 4.

Single somatostatin‐immunoreactive cell in epithelium of human duodenal mucosa, showing clear connection with lumen. Bouin's solution fixation; 5‐μm wax section; peroxidase antiperoxidase (PAP) immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 5.

Human fundic mucosa containing scattered cells stained by Sevier and Munger's silver impregnation technique. Enterochromaffin‐like cells can be distinguished by their closed appearance. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 6.

Electron micrograph of somatostatin‐containing cell from human gut. Cell is pear‐shaped and extends from basement membrane to gut lumen where it terminates with microvilli (M). Large (250–300 nm), spherical, electron‐dense secretory granules (G) are concentrated in basal half of cell. Glutaraldehyde‐osmium fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.



Figure 7.

Electron micrograph of two adjacent endocrine cell types from human gastric antrum. Gastrin‐containing cell (G) exhibits electron‐lucent and electron‐dense granules in basal half of cell, whereas somatostatin‐containing cell (D) displays larger electron‐dense secretory granules. Glutaraldehyde‐osmium fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 5 μm.



Figure 8.

Specific markers for components of diffuse neuroendocrine system. NSE, neuron‐specific enolase; Cg, chromogranin; NFils, neurofilaments; S‐100, protein S‐100; GFAP, glial fibrillary acidic protein.



Figure 9.

Normal human gastric gland containing several argyrophil cells revealed by Grimelius’ silver impregnation method. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 10.

Human antral mucosa with numerous neuron‐specific enolase‐immunoreactive cells in the epithelium. Formaldehyde vapor fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 11.

Neuron‐specific enolase demonstrated in endocrine cells and nerve fibers of human colonic mucosa with technique of indirect immunofluorescence. Benzoquinone solution fixation, 10‐μm cryostat section. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 12.

Numerous chromogranin‐immunoreactive endocrine cells in glands of normal human colonic mucosa. Bouin's fluid fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 13.

Chromogranin imunoreactivity localized to pleomorphic secretory granules in human enterochromaffin cell from gut mucosa. Immunogold staining procedure with 20‐nm gold particles. Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.



Figure 14.

Processing of mammalian preproglucagon occurs posttranslationally at dibasic amino acid cleavage points as indicated. In pancreatic secretory granules (A), proglucagon‐derived peptides are localized in different compartments [glicentin to halo and glucagon and glucagon‐like peptides (GLP‐1/GLP‐2) to core]. Enteroglucagon cell (EG) secretory granules contain glicentin, GLP‐1, and GLP‐2 immunoreactivities homogeneously distributed throughout matrix.



Figure 15.

Electron micrograph of localization of proglucagon‐derived peptide immunoreactivities in human pancreatic A‐cell secretory granules. Glucagon and glucagon‐like peptides (GLP‐1 and GLP‐2, see Fig. ) are restricted to core of the A‐cell granules (40‐nm gold, large arrows). Glicentin immunoreactivity is localized to electron‐lucent halo of secretory granules (10‐nm gold, small arrows). Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 1 μm.



Figure 16.

Diagram of semithin/thin technique. Alternate semithin (0.5–1 μm) and ultrathin (60–90 nm) sections are cut from electron‐microscope (EM) block and mounted onto glass slide or EM grid, respectively. Immunocytochemical staining is performed on semithin section and selected areas may then be compared on adjacent ultrathin section by electron microscopy. Technique has obvious limitations, including low sensitivity and poor localization of immunostained structures.



Figure 17.

Electron microghraph of cholecystokinin‐containing cell (black arrow) from human jejunum. Adjacent semithin section (inset) has been immunostained with indirect immunofluorescence method (white arrow) and localization of immunoreactive material lies basally, in accord with distribution of secretory granules seen at ultrastructural level. Glutaraldehyde fixation, Araldite embedding. Bar, 2 μm; inset bar, 50 μm.



Figure 18.

Diagram of preprosomatostatin molecule. Cryptic peptide (RSCP) is flanked at COOH‐terminus by somatostatin‐28 (SS28), which itself includes tetradecapeptide somatostatin‐14 (SS14).



Figure 19.

Diagram of double immunogold staining procedure that is used to localize two different antigens simultaneously at ultrastructural level. Two primary antisera (1° ab) raised in different species are applied to tissue section. Sites of antigen‐antibody complex formation are differentially localized with anti‐species‐specific immunoglobulin G linked to two sizes of gold particles applied as second layer.



Figure 20.

Villus of human duodenal mucosa with single secretin‐immunoreactive cell. Bouin's solution fixation; 5‐μm wax section; PAP immunostain, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 21.

Section of antral mucosa from patient with high circulating gastrin levels. Hyperplastic gastrin cells can be seen packed in epithelium. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section, PAP immunostain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 22.

Gastric mucosa from achlorhydric patient showing hyperplasia of enterochromaffin‐like cells. Formalin fixation; 5‐μm wax sections; Sevier and Munger's silver impregnation technique, hematoxylin counterstain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 23.

Atrophic gastric mucosa with intestinal metaplasia showing presence of microcarcinoid tumor. Bouin's fixation, 5‐μm wax section, hematoxylin and eosin stain. Bar, 100 μm.



Figure 24.

Groups of endocrine cells in colonic mucosa of patient with graft versus host disease as shown by antibodies to chromogranin. The spared endocrine cells are packed together. Formalin fixation, 5‐μm wax section. PAP immunostain. Bar, 100 μm.

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Julia M Polak. Endocrine Cells of the Gut. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 17: Handbook of Physiology, The Gastrointestinal System, Neural and Endocrine Biology: 79-96. First published in print 1989. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp060204