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Ultrastructural identification of the c-kit-expressing interstitial cells in the rat stomach: a comparison of control and Ws/Ws mutant rats

Abstract.

Interstitial cells in the circular muscle layer of the stomach of the Ws/Ws mutant rat, which lacks c-kit-expressing cells, and its siblings have been studied by electron microscopy. In the sibling control rats, two types of interstitial cells are found lying in close association with nerve bundles. Cells of the first type are characterized by electron-dense cytoplasm containing abundant mitochondria, granular endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi apparatus. Intermediate filaments are richly distributed throughout the perinuclear region and the cell processes. Caveolae, subsurface cisterns, and indistinct basal lamina are observed along the cell membrane. The most conspicuous feature of this cell type is the existence of many large gap junctions that interconnect with the same type of cell, smooth muscle cells, or cells of the second type. Cells of the second type show an ultrastructure similar to fibroblasts, viz., a well-developed Golgi apparatus and granular endoplasmic reticulum whose cisterns often show a dilated form and contain flocculent material. Unlike typical fibroblasts, however, cells of this type also form many gap junctions with cells of the first type and smooth muscle cells. Both types of cells are observed in close apposition to nerve varicosities. Since cells of the first type are absent in the Ws/Ws mutant rat, we concluded that they correspond to c-kit-expressing cells and to interstitial cells of Cajal.

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Received: 4 October 1996 / Accepted: 13 January 1997

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Ishikawa, K., Komuro, T., Hirota, S. et al. Ultrastructural identification of the c-kit-expressing interstitial cells in the rat stomach: a comparison of control and Ws/Ws mutant rats. Cell Tissue Res 289, 137–143 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004410050859

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  • Key words: Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC)
  • Digestive organ
  • Pacemaker
  • Morphology
  • Rat (Ws/Ws)