Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 230, Issue 1, pp 185–196 | Cite as

Epithelial cell production and mucosal morphology in colonic obstruction

  • Daniel B. Burnham


The purpose of this study was to determine the temporal course of changes in epithelial cell production and mucosal morphology following ligation of the rat's ascending colon. Control animals were sham ligated with a loose tie of suture, and ligated and control rats were pair fed after surgery. Between the 12th and 24th postoperative h, crypt mitotic and [3H] thymidine labelling indices in the obstructed colon increased to a level 75% greater than values obtained from unoperated rats. This response was accompanied by gains in the proportion of crypt cells engaged in the division cycle. By 72 h, the numbers of cells per total crypt length and crypt circumference were increased by 40 and 47%, respectively. In addition, morphometrical measurements revealed that crypt cell size in the obstructed colon was significantly greater than control value at 72 h. Colonic ligation had relatively minor effects on cell production and villus and crypt cell number in the terminal ileum. Contrasted with the obstructed bowel, proliferative indices distal to the ligature and in the ileum and colon of control rats diminished rapidly after surgery. Thus, limitation of the hyperproliferative response to the intestine immediately proximal to the ligature strongly suggests that the proliferative stimulus in colonic obstruction is local in action.

Key words

Epithelial cell renewal Intestinal mucosa Colonic obstruction 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aldewachi HS, Wright NA, Appelton DR, Watson AJ (1975) The effect of starvation and refeeding on cell population kinetics in the rat small bowel mucosa. J Anat 119:105–121Google Scholar
  2. Aldewachi HS, Wright NA, Appelton DR, Watson AJ (1976) Studies of proliferative indices in the small bowel mucosa of the rat. Cell Tissue Kinetics 9:459–465Google Scholar
  3. Altmann GG (1974) Demonstration of a morphological control mechanism in the small intestine: role of pancreatic secretions and bile. In: Dowling RH, Riecken EO (eds) Intestinal adaptation. Schattauer Verlag, Stuttgart-New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. Baserga R, Malamud D (1969) Autoradiography. Harper and Row, New York LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Billingham RE, Medawar PB (1955) Contracture and intussusceptive growth in the healing of extensive wounds in mammalian skin. J Anat 89:114–123Google Scholar
  6. Burnham DB (1980) The proliferative response to intestinal obstruction. Fed Proc 39:767Google Scholar
  7. Clarke RM (1977) “Luminal nutrition” versus “functional workload” as controllers of mucosal morphology and epithelial replacement in the rat small intestine. Digestion 15:411–424Google Scholar
  8. Crean GP, Hogg DF, Rumsey RDE (1969) Hyperplasia of gastric mucosa produced by duodenal obstruction. Gastroenterology 56:193–199Google Scholar
  9. Eastwood GL (1977) Gastrointestinal epithelial renewal. Gastroenterology 72:967–975Google Scholar
  10. Eknauer R, Clarke RM, Meyer H (1977) Acute distal intestinal obstruction in gnotobiotic rats. Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol 25:151–160Google Scholar
  11. Goss RJ (1964) Adaptative growth. Logos Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Hagemann RF, Stragand JJ (1977) Fasting and refeeding: cell kinetic response of jejunum, ileum and colon. Cell Tissue Kinetics 10:3–14Google Scholar
  13. Johnson FP (1912) The effects of distension of the intestine upon the shape of the villi and glands. Am J Anat 14:235–250Google Scholar
  14. Johnson LR (1979) Regulation of gastrointestinal mucosal growth. World J Surg 3:477–485Google Scholar
  15. Kamei H, Watanabe T, Takemitso T, Tomoyoshi M, Sugimoto K, Kondo T (1973) Cell renewal in experimentally obstructed small intestine in rat. Jap J Surg 3:237–247Google Scholar
  16. Leroy F, Van Hoeck J, Bogaert C (1977) Effects of uterine distension and oestradiol on cell kinetics in the endometrial epithelium of ovariectomized rats. Cell Tissue Kinetics 10:437–445Google Scholar
  17. Maskens AP (1978) Histogenesis of colon glands during postnatal growth. Acta Anat 100:17–26Google Scholar
  18. Menge H, Kohn R, Dietermann KH, Riecken EO, Robinson JWL (1979) Structural and functional alterations in the mucosa of self-filling intestinal blind loops in rats. Clin Sci 56:121–131Google Scholar
  19. Mirkovitch V, Cobo F, Robinson JWL, Menge H, Gomba SZ (1976) Morphology and function of the dog ileum after mechanical occlusion. Clin Sci Mol Med 50:123–130Google Scholar
  20. Putz PH, Willems G (1979) Cell proliferation in the human gallbladder epithelium: effect of distension. Gut 20:246–248Google Scholar
  21. Rijke RPC, Hanson WR, Plaiser HM, Osborne JW (1976) The effect of ischemic villus cell damage on crypt cell proliferation in the small intestine. Gastroenterology 71:786–792Google Scholar
  22. Rijke RPC, Plaiser HM, Langendoen NJ (1979) Epithelial cell kinetics in the descending colon of the rat. Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol 30:85–94Google Scholar
  23. Stragand JJ, Hagemann RF (1977) Effect of lumenal contents on colonic cell replacement. Am J Physiol 233:E208-E211Google Scholar
  24. Sunter JR, Watson AJ, Wright NA, Appelton DR (1979) Cell proliferation at different sites along the length of the rat colon. Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol 32:75–87Google Scholar
  25. Sykes PA, Boulter KH, Schofield PF (1976) The microflora of the obstructed bowel. Br JSurg 63:721–725Google Scholar
  26. Tannock IF (1967) A comparison of the relative efficiencies of various metaphase arrest agents. Exp Cell Res 47:345–356Google Scholar
  27. Tutton PJM (1977) Neural and endocrine control systems acting on the population kinetics of the intestinal epithelium. Med Biol 55:201–208Google Scholar
  28. Weibecke B, Heybowitz R, Lohrs V, Eder M (1969) The effect of starvation on the proliferation kinetics of the mucosa of the small and large bowel of the mouse. Virchows Arch B Cell Pathol 4:164–175Google Scholar
  29. Williamson RCN (1978) Intestinal adaptation. New Engl J Med 298:1393–1450Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel B. Burnham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of Texas Medical SchoolHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology S-762University of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations