Cell proliferation in chicken intestinal epithelium occurs both in the crypt and along the villus

Z. Uni*, R. Platin, D. Sklan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


The location of cell proliferation and differentiation in chicken small intestinal epithelium was examined using immunostaining, measurement of DNA synthesis and brush-border enzyme activities. Chicken enterocytes were removed sequentially from the villus using a modification of the Weiser (1973) method. Alkaline phosphatase activity was relatively constant along the villus tip-crypt axis but decreased in the crypt fractions, whereas sucrase and maltase activities showed higher activity in the upper half of the villus and lower activity in the lower half of the villus and in the crypt. Immunostaining of proliferating cell nuclear antigen indicated the presence of proliferating cells both in the crypt and along the villus, including some activity in the upper portion; the crypt region exhibited a significantly higher number of proliferating cells. Labelled thymidine incorporation into cell fractions after 2 h incubation exhibited a similar pattern of proliferation, with the most active region observed in the crypt and proliferation activity decreasing along the villus. However, some activity was found in the upper half of the villus. After 17 h incubation, cells from the middle region of the villi showed greater proliferation ability than the 2 h incubation. These results indicate that, unlike mammals, chicken enterocyte proliferation is not localized only in the crypt region, and that the site of enterocyte differentiation is not precisely localized.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)241-247
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1998


  • Cell proliferation
  • Chicken
  • PCNA
  • Small intestine


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