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Exp Anim. 1996 Apr;45(2):155-60.

Histochemical, lectin-histochemical and morphometrical characteristics of intestinal goblet cells of germfree and conventional mice.

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Drug Safety Research Laboratories, Hikari Branch, Takeda Chemical Industries, Ltd., Yamaguchi, Japan.


Histochemical, lectin-histochemical and morphometrical studies were carried out on intestinal goblet cells of 8-week-old germfree (GF) and conventional (CV) mice of the BALB/c strain. Except for the reactivity of cecal goblet cells to Dolichos biflorus agglutinin (DBA) and Ulex europeus-I agglutinin (UEA-I), there was no difference between GF and CV mice in histochemical and lectin-histochemical properties. In the cecal mucosa, DBA stained the goblet cells strongly in CV mice but not in GF mice and UEA-I stained the goblet cells strongly in the lower part of crypts in CV mice but only faintly in GF mice. These findings suggest that terminal residues of cecal goblet cell mucin were different in GF and CV mice. Morphometrically, cecal goblet cells were fewer in number and smaller in size in GF mice than in CV mice. In addition, high iron diamine-alcian blue staining made a very clear border between the cecum and colon, because cecal goblet cells were exclusively positive for sulfomucin and colonic goblet cells were predominantly positive for sialomucin.

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