Prenatal development and histochemical characteristics of gastrointestinal mucins in sheep fetuses

Özbek M., Ergun E., BEYAZ F., Ergün L., Yıldırım N., Özgenç Ö., ...More

MICROSCOPY RESEARCH AND TECHNIQUE, vol.81, no.6, pp.630-648, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 81 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jemt.23018
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.630-648
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


The object of this study was to describe the prenatal development and histochemical properties of mucins in the sheep gastrointestinal tract. To determine changes in the mucin profile, the sections were stained with specific histochemical stains for carbohydrates. While neutral and mixed mucins were observed in the superficial epithelial cells of the abomasal pyloric region, acidic mucins were detected in the secretory ducts and corpus of the glands. Acidic mucins consisted predominantly of sialomucins. In the duodenal villi, the number of goblet cells containing neutral mucins increased toward the end of gestation, whereas Brunner's glands contained acidic mucins until the 95th day of gestation and both acidic and neutral mucins thereafter. The jejunal goblet cells contained either acidic, neutral, or mixed mucins. Goblet cells containing acidic mucins, which were mainly localized to the ileal crypts and villi, mostly contained sulfated mucins. While villi were observed in the proximal colon until the 115th day of gestation, later the typical crypt structure emerged. During the period in which the villi were found in the proximal colon, the goblet cells containing sulphomucins were predominant, whereas the goblet cells containing sialomucins were predominant after the typical crypt structure was formed. In conclusion, gastrointestinal mucins may be involved in the formation of meconium during the prenatal period, and acidic mucins may contribute to the strength of the intestinal barrier against pathogens and digestive enzymes, as the barrier is not fully functional after birth.