Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 21–28 | Cite as

Expression and localization of aromatase in human gastric mucosa

Immunohistochemical study using biopsy materials
  • Hiroto KobayashiEmail author
  • Saori Yoshida
  • Nobuyuki Shirasawa
  • Kunihiko Maeda
  • Akira Naito
Original Paper


Parietal cells in the gastric mucosa are known not only as cells playing major roles in food digestion but also as cells bearing endocrine function. In addition to their production of gastrin and ghrelin, it has been recently revealed that these cells are also involved in the synthesis and secretion of estrogens with their expression of aromatase in experimental animals. Although aromatase activity has been detected in human gastric cancer cells and related cell lines, much less study has been done to ascertain the expression of the enzymatic activity in normal gastric mucosa. It has not been established which cell type is responsible for estrogen production in human gastric glands consisting of epithelial cells of several types. The aim of this study is to define the expression of aromatase by parietal cells in human gastric glands using immunohistochemical techniques. We retrieved formalin-fixed paraffin embedded materials of gastric biopsies from 16 patients (nine men, seven women). Colocalization of aromatase and H+/K+-ATPase β-subunit indicated that positive cells are parietal cells, but not chief cells and mucous cells. Furthermore, immunoreactivity of aromatase was detected within gastric glands irrespective of age or sex. These results suggest that human parietal cells synthesize estrogens within gastric mucosa and subsequently secrete them to the portal vein via gastric vein, as they do in rats. These estrogens might influence liver functions in humans. The estrogenic effects related to liver dysfunction might also be attributed to them.


Human Immunohistochemistry Parietal cell Aromatase 17β-estradiol 



We are deeply grateful to laboratory members for giving us constructive comments and warm encouragement. Funding from the Annual Plan of Yamagata University (Grant Number DAY2609) is gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that would prejudice the impartiality of this research work.

Supplementary material

418_2018_1708_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (10.8 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 11090 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroto Kobayashi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Saori Yoshida
    • 1
  • Nobuyuki Shirasawa
    • 2
  • Kunihiko Maeda
    • 3
  • Akira Naito
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Structural Science, Faculty of MedicineYamagata UniversityYamagataJapan
  2. 2.Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medical Science and WelfareTohoku Bunka Gakuen UniversitySendaiJapan
  3. 3.Yamagata Prefectural University of Health ScienceYamagataJapan

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