Lectins are sensitive tools for defining the differentiation programs of mouse gut epithelial cell lineages

P. Falk, K. A. Roth, J. I. Gordon

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We have used histochemical methods to survey the cellular patterns of binding of a panel of 45 lectins with well-defined carbohydrate specificities to sections prepared from various regions of the gastric-to-colonic axis of fetal, neonatal, and adult FVB/N mouse gut. The results suggest that lectins can be used as remarkably sensitive tools to describe the differentiation programs of gastric and intestinal epithelial cell lineages as a function of their position along the cephalocaudal axis of the gut and as a function of developmental stage. Studies of intestinal isografts and transgenic mice that express Simian virus-40 T antigen in enterocytes suggest that many of these cell lineage-specific and spatial patterns of glycoconjugate production can be established and maintained in the absence of exposure to luminal contents and in the presence of specific proliferative abnormalities. This lectin panel should be useful for operationally defining subpopulations of the principal gut epithelial cell lineages in normal strains of mice, for describing variations in gut epithelial cell differentiation programs in mutant and transgenic mice, and for recovering specific epithelial cell lineages or subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G987-G1003
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6 29-6
StatePublished - 1994


  • FVB/N mice
  • glycoconjugate production
  • immunohistochemistry
  • intestinal isografts
  • transgenic mice


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