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Medicina (Kaunas). 2019 Jun 27;55(7). pii: E316. doi: 10.3390/medicina55070316.

An Immunohistochemical Study of Gastric Mucosa and Critical Review Indicate that the Subepithelial Telocytes are Prelymphatic Endothelial Cells.

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Department XIII of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Neonatology, "Polizu" Clinical Hospital, "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 020021 Bucharest, Romania.
Division of Anatomy, Faculty of Dental Medicine, "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 020021 Bucharest, Romania.
Department of Histology, University of Medicine and Pharmacy Craiova, 2 Petru Rares Street, 200349 Craiova, Dolj, Romania.
Department of Legal Medicine and Bioethics, Faculty of Dental Medicine, "Carol Davila" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 020021 Bucharest, Romania.
Division of Anatomy, "Victor Babeş" University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 300041 Timişoara, Romania.


There are only a few studies regarding gut subepithelial telocytes (TCs). The telopodes, namely peculiar TCs' prolongations described on two-dimensional cuts, are not enough to differentiate this specific cell type. Subepithelial TCs were associated with the intestinal stem niche but a proper differential diagnosis with lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) was not performed. In this study, we will critically review studies suggesting that distinctive TCs could be positioned within the lamina propria. Additionally, we performed an immunohistochemical study of human gastric mucosa to test the expression of D2-40, the lymphatic marker, as well as that of CD31, CD34, CD44, CD117/c-kit, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and vimentin in the gastric subepithelial niche. The results support the poorly investigated anatomy of intramural gastric lymphatics, with circumferential collectors located on both sides of the muscularis mucosae (mucosal and then submucosal) and myenteric collectors in the muscularis propria. We also found superficial epithelial prelymphatic channels bordered by D2-40+ but CD31-TC-like cells. Deep epithelial lymphatic collectors drain in collectors within the lamina propria. Blood endothelial cells expressed CD31, CD34, CD44, and vimentin. Therefore, the positive diagnosis of TC for subepithelial CD34+ cells should be regarded with caution, as they could also be artefacts, resulting from the two-dimensional examination of three dimensional structures, or as LECs. Lymphatic markers should be routinely used to discriminate TCs from LECs.


intestinal stem niche; lamina propria; lymphatic endothelial cell; mesenchymal cell; pericryptal fibroblasts

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