Utilizing colloidal iron staining to localize acid mucosubstances both at light and electron microscopic levels it has been observed that, in the strain of mice studied, there is a distinct variation in the cell-to-cell disposition of the so-called `glycocalyx', ie, the enteric surface coat. It has been inferred that this glycoprotein surface coat is not—analogous to lubricious mucous secretion—a uniform smearing of the epithelial cells by goblet cell mucus. It is also found that each cell possesses and synthesizes its own individual surface coat, with some cells exhibiting more, others less, and still others deficient in surface coat at a given time. It is suggested that these observed variations could well reflect the maturity and functional state of the absorptive cells.
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