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Functional organization of the bovine rumen epithelium

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher Graham, Professor Nicholas Simmons


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The functional organization of the bovine rumen epithelium has been examined by electron and light microscopy combined with immunocytochemistry to define a transport model for this epithelium. Expression of connexin 43, an integral component of gap junctions, the tight-junction molecules claudin-1 and zonula occludens 1 (ZO-1), and the catalytic alpha-subunit of Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase was demonstrated by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. From the lumen surface, four cell layers can be distinguished: the stratum corneum, the stratum granulosum, the stratum spinosum, and the stratum basale. Both claudin-1 and ZO-1 immunostaining showed plasma membrane staining, which was present at the stratum granulosum with decreasing intensity through the stratum spinosum to the stratum basale. The stratum corneum was negative for claudin-1 immunostaining. Transmission electron microscopy confirmed that occluding tight junctions were present at the stratum granulosum. Plasma membrane connexin 43 immunostaining was most intense at the stratum granulosum and decreased in intensity through stratum spinosum and stratum basale. There was intense immunostaining of the stratum basale for Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, with weak staining of the stratum spinosum. Both the stratum granulosum and the stratum corneum were essentially negative. Stratum basale cells also displayed a high mitochondrial density relative to more apical cell layers. We conclude that epithelial barrier function may be attributed to the stratum granulosum and that cell-cell gap junctions allow diffusion to interconnect the barrier cell layer with the stratum basale where Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase is concentrated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Graham C, Simmons NL

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Year: 2005

Volume: 288

Issue: 1

Pages: R173-181

ISSN (print): 0363-6119

ISSN (electronic): 1522-1490

Publisher: American Physiological Society


DOI: 10.​1152/​ajpregu.​00425.​2004

Notes: Journal Article Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't United States


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