During the healing of experimental gastric ulcers in the oxyntic mucosa, there is a dedifferentiation of the glands in the ulcer margin: previous studies have shown that the parietal cells lose their capacity to produce HCl, and mucous cells replace the zymogen cells. Primarily, we wished to investigate whether or not the glands of the ulcer margin transcribe mRNA for pepsinogen; secondly we also wanted to locate such transcription in other parts of the gastroduodenal epithelium. For this purpose, we first established the baseline for distribution of pepsinogen mRNA in normal rats. We then studied its location in the margin of ulcers in the corpus region after 1–15 days of healing. Formaldehyde-fixed paraffin sections were used for in situ hybridization of mRNA for pepsinogen C, utilizing radioactive riboprobes. The normal gastroduodenal mucosa showed widespread hybridization: the signal was particularly strong in the zymogen cells; weaker signals were obtained from the mucous neck cells, and the cells of the cardiac, antral, and Brunner glands. Specific hybridization was weak or absent in the ulcer margin during the entire period studied. It is concluded that the capacity to produce pepsinogen C is significantly reduced or absent in the gastric ulcer margin during the first 15 days of healing: this should reduce the risks of peptic attack on the delicate scar and margin tissues during ulcer healing.
H. Helander, B. Weijdegård, K. Bamberg
Histochemistry and Cell Biology