The number of goblet cells increases with distal progression along the bowel, from duodenum 4% to distal colon 16%, where they are most abundant in the sigmoid colon and rectum. Reflecting a dominant function in absorption and antigen processing, the right colon displays a higher colonocyte to goblet cell ratio (5:1) as compared to the left colon. Proceeding distally an increase in goblet cells are apparent, facilitating increased formation of gel-type mucin in the descending and sigmoid colon necessary for consolidation and transit of the increasingly formed fecal matter. Their broad shape creates the false impression that they constitute the majority of the cells; however, in the sigmoid colon and rectum, the ratio is approximately one goblet cell for every four columnar cells.
Goblet cells are also found in other epithelia and they are a normal component of the conjunctiva, respiratory epithelium of the nose and larynx, and in the bronchial...
References and Further Reading
- Filipe, M. I. (1979). Mucins in the human gastrointestinal epithelium: A review. Investigative & Cell Pathology, 2(3), 195–216.Google Scholar