The interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are c-kit immunoreactive cells of the gastrointestinal tract which are suggested to have a role in the control of intestinal motility. Cells with c-kit immunoreactivity have not been previously described in the gastrointestinal tract of the horse. Immunoreactivity for c-kit was revealed using immunohistochemical labelling with an anti-c-kit polyclonal antibody. Sections of normal gastrointestinal tissue were examined from 13 anatomically defined sites from stomach to small colon taken from horses free from gastrointestinal disease. Three types of c-kit immunoreactive cells were identified: spindle-shaped cells in the region of the myenteric plexus, stellate or bipolar cells in the circular muscle layer, and round cells in the submucosa. The round cells were shown to be mast cells with the use of toluidine blue staining, whereas the other c-kit immunoreactive cells did not exhibit metachromasia and were classified as ICC. This study will serve as a basis for future pathological studies in the horse.
- Digestive System
- Fluorescent Antibody Technique
- Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit