A histochemical study of argentaffin endocrine cells in the gastrointestinal tract of ovariectomized rats

  • Ku, Sae-kwang (Pharmacology & Toxicology Lab., Central Research Laboratories, Dong-Wha Pharm. Ind. Co.) ;
  • Lee, Hyeung-sik (Department of Herbal Biotechnology, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Lee, Jae-hyun (Department of Histology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kyungpook National University)
  • Accepted : 2004.03.03
  • Published : 2004.06.30


The regional distributions and frequencies of argentaffin endocrine cells in gastrointestinal (GI) tract of osteoporotic Sprague-Dawley rat induced by ovariectomy were studied by Masson-Hamperl silver stain. The experimental animals were divided into two groups, one is non-ovariectomized group (Sham) and the other is ovariectomized group (OVX). Samples were collected from each part of GI tract (fundus, pylorus, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, colon and rectum) at 10th week after ovariectomy or sham operation. Argentaffin cells were detected throughout the entire GI tract with various frequencies regardless of ovariectomy except for the rectum of OVX in which no cells were detected. Most of these argentaffin cells in the mucosa of GI tract were generally spherical or spindle in shape (open type cell) while cells showing round in shape (close type cell) were rarely found in gland regions. Significant decrease of argentaffin cells was detected in OVX compared to that of Sham except for the fundus and jejunum. However, in the fundus and jejunum, argentaffin cells in OVX showed similar frequency compared to that of Sham. In conclusion, the endocrine cells are the anatomical units responsible for the production of gut hormones that regulate gut motility and digestion including absorption, and a change in their density would reflect the change in the capacity of producing these hormones and regulating gut motility and digestion. Ovariectomy induced severe quantitative changes of GI argentaffin endocrine cell density, and the abnormality in density of GI endocrine cells may contribute to the development of gastrointestinal symptoms in osteoporosis such as impairments of calcium and some lipids, frequently encountered in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis.


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