Enterochromaffin-like cells in the rat stomach: effect of depletion. A chemical, histochemical and electron-microscopic study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the rat, gastric histamine is stored predominantly in the enterochromaffin-like (ECL) cells, which are located basally in the oxyntic mucosa. The functional significance of histamine in the ECL cells is a matter of speculation. In this study the effect of depletion of histamine on the properties and ultrastructure of the ECL cells was examined. Histamine synthesis was inhibited with alpha-fluoromethylhistidine (3 mg.kg-1.h-1) given via osmotic minipumps over a period of 24 h. The treatment reduced the histidine decarboxylase activity (approximately 20% remaining) and histamine concentration (less than 20% remaining) in the oxyntic mucosa, as well as the intensity of histamine- and chromogranin A-immunostaining in the ECL cells, compared to control rats. The cytoplasmic (secretory) granules/vesicles were greatly reduced in number and size following alpha-fluoromethylhistidine administration. The histamine immunostaining of the mast cells, which occurs at the mucosal surface and in the submucosa, appeared unaffected. We conclude that ECL cell histamine accounts for at least 80% of the total oxyntic mucosal histamine in the rat and that it represents a more mobile pool than mast cell histamine. The reduction in the number and size of the ECL cell granules/vesicles following histamine depletion is in accord with the idea that they represent the storage site for histamine.


  • K Andersson
  • D Chen
  • Rolf Håkanson
  • Frank Sundler
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-13
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Andersson, K., 1996, Department of Pharmacology, Lund University. 80 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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