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Histochemistry. 1994 Mar;101(3):169-83.

Identification and classification of interstitial cells in the canine proximal colon by ultrastructure and immunocytochemistry.

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Department of Physiology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno 89557.


The ultrastructure and immunocytochemistry of interstitial cells (ICs) in the canine proximal colon were investigated. Three types of ICs were found within the tunica muscularis. (1) ICs were located along the submucosal surface of the circular muscle (IC-SM). These cells shared many features of smooth muscle cells, including myosin thick filaments and immunoreactivity to smooth muscle gamma actin, myosin light chain, and calponin antibodies. IC-SM were clearly different from smooth muscle cells in that contractile filaments were less abundant and intermediate filaments consisted of vimentin instead of desmin. (2) ICs in the region of the myenteric plexus (IC-MY) were similar to IC-SM, but these cells had no thick filaments or immunoreactivity to smooth muscle gamma actin or calponin antibodies. (3) The fine structures and immunoreactivity of ICs within the muscle layers (IC-BU) were similar to IC-MY, but IC-BU lacked a definite basal lamina and membrane caveolae. IC-BU and IC-MY were both immunopositive for vimentin. Since all ICs were immunopositive for vimentin, vimentin antibodies may be a useful tool for distinguishing between ICs and smooth muscle cells. Each class of ICs was closely associated with nerve fibers, made specialized contacts with smooth muscle cells, and formed multicellular networks. A combination of ultrastructural and immunocytochemical techniques helps the identification and classification of ICs by revealing the fine structures and determining the "chemical coding" of each class of ICs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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