Int. J. Dev. Biol. 35: 303 - 309 (1991)
© UPV/EHU Press

Immunohistochemical and stereological study of neuroendocrine cells in human antrum during the perinatal period.

B Rode, G Lackovic and A Pirkic

Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zagreb, Republic of Croatia, Yugoslavia.

ABSTRACT A correlative immunohistochemical and stereological study of neuroendocrine cells (NEC) was carried out in the antrum of twenty human fetuses with gestational ages from 18 to 42 weeks and of two specimens postnatally. Neuron-specific enolase (NSE) as a common marker of neurons and NEC, as well as gastrin (G-) and somatostatin (D-) immunoreactive cells served for evaluation of volume density, which proved to be the most convenient method for quantitative analysis of NEC. It was observed that a considerable frequency of NEC appeared at 23-24 weeks of gestation (8% of NSE- and 6% of G- cells) and coincided with the adult pattern of intramural innervation. After a repeated increase of NEC in the 26-week-old fetus, the frequency of NEC remained persistant during the perinatal period (10-12% of NSE- and 7-8% of G- cells). An exception was a specimen with a prolonged pregnancy (42 weeks) in which the percentage of NSE- (17%) and G- (10%) cells was almost the same as at 6 weeks postnatally. The maximal quantitative difference of NEC was noted between 6- and 8-week specimens postnatally, e.g. 9% to 22% of G- cells, respectively. Observations obtained by NSE and S-100 protein were also demonstrated in lymphoid cells of gut associated and mesenteric lymphoid tissue.