Distribution of Serotonin-immunoreactive Enterochromaffin Cells in the Gastrointestinal Tract of the Least Shrew (Cryptotis parva)

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022012000300025
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Mohammed S. Al-Tikriti; Wael Khamas; Seetha Chebolu & Nissar A. Darmani


Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter in the central (CNS) and peripheral (PNS) nervous systems. It is involved in a variety of physiological processes both in the gut and in the CNS. The present study examined the distribution of serotonin containing enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of a vomit competent species, the least shrew. These cells were easily recognized by their globular granules stained with the H&E and serotonin immune-positive stain. The immunoreactive enterochromaffin cells (IERCs) were mainly confined to the basal portion of the glandular epithelium and were distributed throughout the shrew stomach, small and large intestine. None was found to be associated with the mucosal epithelial lining. Moreover, their distribution and count varied in different regions of the GIT suggesting specific functions for these regions. The highest concentration of IERCs was found in the colon followed by the Jejunum. Appreciable numbers of IERCs were found in the stomach especially at the esophageo-gastric junction. The gastric location of the IERCs was mainly in the basal portion of the gland. However, some IERCs were associated with the parietal cells of the stomach. Two types of IERCs were observed: One with globular secretory granules in their apical portion of the cytoplasm which were located within the glandular epithelial cells facing the glandular lumen which release their secretions into the lumen; and the second were basally located, facing the lamina propria of the mucosa. Their secretory granules were not distinct in shape, and are most probably paracrine in their mode of secretions.

KEY WORDS: Least shrew; Enterochromaffin cells; Serotonin; Immunohistochemical; Stomach; Duodenum; Jejunum; Ileum; Colon.

How to cite this article

AL-TIKRITI, M. S.; KHAMAS, W.; CHEBOLU, S. & DARMANI, N. A. Distribution of serotonin-immunoreactive enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract of the least shrew (Cryptotis parva). Int. J. Morphol., 30(3):916-923, 2012.