The role of goblet cells in the adaptive response of the intestine to jejunoileal bypass was studied in rats submitted to an 85% end-to-side jejunoileal bypass or sham bypass. At 36 weeks the length and wet weight of the duodenum and large bowel was 13-48% greater in animals with jejunoileal bypass. Measurements of villous height and crypt depth confirmed mucosal hyperplasia in the residual functioning small bowel and the distal colon. Histochemical studies in both groups of rats showed an overall predominance of sulphomucins throughout the intestinal tract, but jejunoileal bypass caused a disproportionate increase in the number of sialomucin containing goblet cells in functioning segments of small bowel and distal colon. An abundance of sialomucin cells at the site of anastomosis after jejunoileal bypass may have been a protective response to local mechanical trauma. Goblet cell hyperplasia is a feature of compensatory growth of the intestinal tract after surgical shortening. The changes in colonic mucin seen after jejunoileal bypass resemble those observed in ulcerative colitis and mucosal dysplasia.
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