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Cell Tissue Res. 1988 Aug;253(2):397-402.

Atropine inhibits the degranulation of Paneth cells in ex-germ-free mice.

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Department of Anatomy, Asahikawa Medical College, Japan.


Previous studies have shown that the secretory products of Paneth cells contain antibacterial agents (lysozyme, IgA) that are affected by the bacterial milieu in the intestine. To investigate whether Paneth-cell secretion is controlled via cholinergic mechanisms, the ultrastructure of Paneth cells was studied in four animal groups: (1) germ-free (GF) control mice (Jcl: ICR [GN], male, 13 weeks old), (2) GF mice injected subcutaneously with atropine sulfate (200 mg/kg body weight, dissolved in physiological saline 20 mg/ml), (3) ex-GF mice inoculated with feces from specific-pathogen-free (SPF) mice, and (4) ex-GF mice injected with atropine and inoculated with feces from SPF mice. In ex-GF mice inoculated with feces, 70-90% of the Paneth cells showed fewer secretory granules than those from GF mice (p less than 0.01). Approximately 30% of the Paneth cells had a large vacuole (3-10 micron diameter) in the apical cytoplasm. Exocytosed electron-dense material from secretory granules was observed in a few crypt lumens. In ex-GF mice inoculated with feces and given atropine, about 90% of the Paneth cells contained numerous secretory granules, like those in GF control mice, but vacuolated Paneth cells and exocytotic figures were rare; thus the secretion of Paneth cells was blocked by atropine. It is therefore possible that the bacterial milieu in the intestine affects the secretory activity of Paneth cells via cholinergic mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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