Differentiation of gastric ECL cells is altered in CCK2 receptor-deficient mice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background & Aims: Gastrin stimulation of the type 2 cholecystokinin (CCK2) receptor results in ECL cell proliferation and histamine secretion. This report describes the effects of targeted disruption of the CCK2 receptor gene on ECL cell morphology and function. Methods: The ECL cells in the oxyntic mucosa of CCK2 receptor-deficient (knockout [KO]) vs. wild-type (WT) mice were investigated by immunocytochemical and biochemical approaches, as well as by electron microscopy. Results: Immunocytochemistry demonstrates similar numbers (cells per millimeter of horizontal length of mucosa) of pancreastatin- or vesicle monoamine transporter-2 (VMAT-2)-immunoreactive cells in WT mice and KO mice. However, only WT mice harbor histamine-immunoreactive ECL cells. The mucosal histamine content in KO mice (likely originating from mast cells) is only a minute fraction of that present in WT animals. The activity of the histamine forming enzyme, histidine decarboxylase (a marker of ECL cells), was undetectable in the oxyntic mucosa of KO mice yet was readily apparent in the mucosa from WT animals. Electron microscopy revealed numerous ECL cells in WT mice. In KO animals, these cells were replaced by an "ECL-like" cell type, characterized by a lack of secretory vesicles (a hallmark feature of normal ECL cells) and the presence of dense-core granules and microvesicles in numbers comparable to those found in WT ECL cells. Based on ultrastructural features, the ECL-like cells in KO mice can be readily distinguished from other gastric endocrine cells, including A-like cells and D cells. Conclusions: Absence of a single gene product, the CCK2 receptor, alters the differentiation and function of gastric ECL cells.


  • DA Chen
  • CM Zhao
  • W Al-Haider
  • Rolf Håkanson
  • JF Rehfeld
  • AS Kopin
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-585
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch