Immunohistochemical studies on peptide- and amine-containing endocrine cells and nerves in the gut and the rectal gland of the ratfish Chimaera monstrosa

Research paper by Ryogo Yui, Motoko Shimada, Tsuneo Fujita

Indexed on: 01 Apr '90Published on: 01 Apr '90Published in: Cell and Tissue Research


The occurrence and distribution of endocrine cells and nerves were immunohistochemically demonstrated in the gut and rectal gland of the ratfish Chimaera monstrosa (Holocephala). The epithelium of the gut mucosa revealed open-type endocrine cells exhibiting immunoreactivity for serotonin (5HT), gastrin/cholecystokinin (CCK), pancreatic polypeptide (PP)/FMRFamide, somatostatin, glucagon, substance P or gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP). The rectum contained a large number of closed-type endocrine cells in the basal layer of its stratified epithelium; the majority contained 5HT- and GRP-like immunoreactivity in the same cytoplasm, whereas others were immunoreactive for substance P. The rectal gland revealed closed-type endocrine cells located in the collecting duct epithelium. Most of these contained substance P-like immunoreactivity, although some reacted either to antibody against somatostatin or against 5HT. Four types of nerves were identified in the gut and the rectal gland. The nerve cells and fibers that were immunoreactive for vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and GRP formed dense plexuses in the lamina propria, submucosa and muscular layer of the gut and rectal gland. A sparse network of gastrin- and 5HT-immunoreactive nerve fibers was found in the mucosa and the muscular layer of the gut. The present study demonstrated for the first time the occurrence of the closed-type endocrine cells in the mucosa of the rectum and rectal gland of the ratfish. These abundant cells presumably secrete 5HT and/or peptides in response to mechanical stimuli in the gut and the rectal gland. The peptide-containing nerves may be involved in the regulation of secretion by the rectal gland.