Distribution and morphological characteristics of the interstitial cells of Cajal in the ileocaecal junction of the guinea-pig
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The guinea-pig ileocaecal junction including the valve was studied by immunohistochemistry to clarify the organization of the muscle bundles, the enteric nerves and the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). This region clearly exhibited characteristic features in the distribution patterns of ICC in a proximal to distal direction: (1) the thickened portion of the terminal ileum immediately adjacent to the ileocecal junction contained many ICC throughout the circular (ICC-CM) and longitudinal (ICC-LM) muscle layers, but ICC were few or absent in the rest of the ileum; (2) the ileal side of the valve contained ICC associated with the deep muscular plexus (ICC-DMP) as in the small intestine, whereas ICC-DMP were absent in the caecal side as in the caecum; (3) the valve contained many ICC-CM and ICC-LM in both the ileal and caecal sides; (4) many ICC associated with the myenteric plexus were observed in both the ileal and caecal sides of the valve, whereas they were only sparsely found in the caecum; (5) ICC were also observed around the submucosal plexus in a confined area of the terminal ileum and the ileocaecal valve. These observations provide morphological evidence that the terminal ileum and ileocaecal valve are specially equipped for their active involvement in the movement of the junctional area.
KeywordsInterstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) Ileocaecal junction Tunica muscularis Immunohistochemistry Guinea-pig
The authors thank Dr. Shunichi Morikawa, Dr. Kazuhiko Shimizu and Dr. Shuji Kitahara, Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Tokyo, Japan, for valuable advice.
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