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Am J Anat. 1978 Jul;152(3):269-85.

The ultrastructure of the neonatal pig colon.


The neonatal pig colon has several unique structural and developmental features. At birth it has a variable population of epithelial cells which in their arrangement on villus-like protrusions and in their capability for protein uptake into large preformed supranuclear vacuoles closely resemble neonatal ileal cells. Such villus-like protrusions and vacuolated cells are not present in the 2-day-old piglet. On the first day after birth absorptive epithelial cells which lack supranuclear vacuoles transiently accumulate a large number of lipid droplets, each separated from the cytoplasm only by a proteolipid interface. None of the much smaller lipid droplets bounded by a unit membrane of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum and characteristic of normal small intestinal fat uptake were ever seen in these cells. Very few of the large lipid drops remain on the second day after birth. This initial capacity of the colon for protein and lipid uptake never reappears. The pattern of colonic amino acid transport also changes markedly in the first four days of independent life and this may be correlated with the observation that the absorptive cells at birth have microvilli which are twice the length of those on similar cells at and after two days old. These morphological results are discussed in terms of implied functional changes in the neonatal period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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