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The prevalence, metabolism and migration of goblet cells in rat intestine following the induction of rapid, synchronous vitamin A deficiency


, : The prevalence, metabolism and migration of goblet cells in rat intestine following the induction of rapid, synchronous vitamin A deficiency. Journal of Nutrition 110(1): 178-188

Experiments were conducted to evaluate critically the role of vitamin A in the maintenance and functional integrity of mucus-secreting goblet cells in rat small intestine. Essentially synchronous vitamin A deficiency was induced by the withdrawal of retinoic acid from mature, stringently-deficient male rats reared by feeding vitamin A-depleted weanlings diets first supplemented with and then lacking in 2 micrograms retinoic acid per gram diet in repeating 18 day:10 day cycles. Secondary inanition was minimized by force-feeding both deficient and control animals twice daily. Whereas the prevalence of oligomucus cells was unchanged, the number of goblet cells per duodenal crypt gland decreased abruptly to 60% of control values starting 2 to 3 days after the withdrawal of retinoic acid and then stabilized. The responses of mucus-secreting cells to atropine and pilocarpine were identical in vitamin A deficient and control animals. As studied with [3H]thymidine, the rate of division of epithelial cells and the migration rate of columnar and goblet cells out of the crypt gland and along the villus were also unaffected by vitamin A deficiency. We conclude that two populations of goblet cells exist in the intestine--one relatively insensitive and the other sensitive to vitamin A status. In vitamin A deficiency, the rate of differentiation of sensitive goblet cells from oligomucus cells and other precursor cells seems to be blocked.

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Accession: 006740186

PMID: 7354380

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