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J Anat. 1978 May;126(Pt 1):133-44.

Cell specialization in the epithelium of the small intestine of feeding Xenopus laevis tadpoles.


The intestinal epithelium of feeding Xenopus laevis tadpoles was studied using light microscope, electron microscope and autoradiographic techniques. The wall of the small intestine differs from that of most other vertebrates studied in that it lacks villous-like folds. A single prominent longitudinal fold, the typhlosole, forms about stage 49, and a series of shallow longitudinal epithelial pleats is also present in some animals. The morphology of the epithelial cells indicates that there are no differences between the cells in their degree of specialization. Three epithelial cell types were recognized: principal cells, gland cells and endocrine cells, making up about 65%, 15% and 1%, respectively, of all cells present, while approximately 20% of the cells in the epithelium are lymphocytes, 1% appear to be discharged gland cells, and 2% degenerating cells. No Paneth, caveolated or undifferentiated cells were identified. The findings are discussed in relation to other studies on cell proliferation and on nuclear transplantation.

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