Intestinal metaplasia (IM) in the human stomach has previously been classified into a gastric and intestinal mixed (GI-IM) and a solely intestinal phenotype (I-IM). The phenotypes of mucous and endocrine cells were evaluated in 3034 glandular ducts associated with chronic gastritis. In the pyloric region, the relative expression of gastric endocrine cell markers, such as gastrin and somatostatin, decreased gradually from glandular ducts with only gastric mucous cell phenotype (G type) to GI-IM toward I-IM, while that of the intestinal endocrine cell markers, glicentin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) was inversely correlated. In the fundic region, gastrin-positive cells emerged in the pseudo-pyloric and GI-IM glands, whereas I-IM glands did not possess any gastrin-positive cells, suggesting the presence of a distinct pathway of intestinalization. Double staining revealed coexistence of gastrin- and GLP-1-positive cells in the same gland and occasionally in the same cell in GI-IM glands. These results suggest that the phenotypes of endocrine cells are in line with those for mucous counterparts and support the concept that all of the different types of mucous and endocrine cells in normal and IM glands might be derived from a single progenitor cell in each gland.
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