The effects of age on mucosal morphology and epithelial cell production in rat small intestine

R. M. Clarke

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Six groups of male Wistar rats were used, with mean weights of 29, 63, 97, 161, 249 and 399 g. Pieces of small intestine from sites were examined after staining in bulk according to Feulgen. The crypt/villus ratio (the number of crypts per villus) rose with age at all 3 sites. Villus height and crypt depth were measured on microdissected specimens. Villi in the proximal intestine were always taller than those in the caudad ileum. Proximal villi increased in height in successively older rats, except in the oldest group. Villi at the 2 distal sites tended to be tall in the youngest group of rats, but suffered a temporary reduction in height in the next 2 age groups. Crypt depth increased markedly within the first 3 age groups, and more slowly thereafter. The colchicine metaphase accumulation rate was estimated from counts on microdissected intact crypts. The rate was low in the youngest group (8 cells/crypt/hr) but about 30 cells/crypt/hr in all other groups. After the changes during the early phase of rapid growth, no marked changes were seen during later life. The significance of these findings is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)805-811
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1977


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