Carroll, D.; Soothill, P.; Sergi, C.; Spicer, R.D.; Corfield, A.
April 2003
Gut;Apr2003 Supplement 1, Vol. 52, pA521
Academic Journal
Introduction: Mucin glycoproteins are important constituents of the supramucosal barrier. Trefoil peptides are fundamental to the maintenance of epithelial integrity. Immaturity of the gastrointestinal tract is associated with a number of pathological conditions. We sought to examine the timing of expression of the gene products of these proteins within the developing gastrointestinal tract. Methods: fetal gastrointestinal tract was collected with maternal consent and prior approval of the regional ethics committee from 9 fetuses from 8-13 weeks gestation. Tissue was immediately fixed in formalin for 24h and embedded in paraffin. Sections were subjected to in situ hybridisation and immunohistochemistry. Sections were then examined by two independent observers under light microscopy to determine the cellular and subcellular pattern of gene and protein expression in the developing gastrointestinal tract. Data analysis was performed using independent t test in SPSS for Windows v. 10. Results: Mucin gene expression was not detected before 9+3 weeks gestation in the fetal gastrointestinal tract by either in situ hybridisation or immunohistochemistry. From 10 weeks gestation mucin gene expression adopted a pattern similar to that seen in normal neonatal tissue. Trefoil factor 3 product was detected in primitive secretory cells of the small and large intestine from 10 weeks gestation onward. Conclusions: Mucin glycoproteins and trefoil peptides are present in detectable levels in the gastrointestinal tract from late in the first trimester. Deficiencies in post-translational modification or quantitative changes in expression may account for presumed deficiencies in the integrity of the supramucosal barrier.


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