Cellular expression of gut chitinase mRNA in the gastrointestinal tract of mice and chickens

Masako Suzuki, Wakako Fujimoto, Marie Goto, Masami Morimatsu, Bunei Syuto, Toshihiko Iwanaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Recently, the second mammalian chitinase, designated acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase), has been identified in human, mouse, and cow. In contrast to the earlier identified macrophage-derived chitinase (chitotriosidase), this chitinase is richly expressed in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, suggesting its role in digestion of chitin-containing foods as well as defense against chitin-coated microorganisms and parasites. This in situ hybridization study first revealed cellular localization of the gut-type chitinase in the mouse and chicken. In adult mice, the parotid gland, von Ebner's gland, and gastric chief cells, all of which are exocrine cells of the serous type, expressed the gut chitinase mRNA. In the chicken, oxyntico-peptic cells in glandular stomach (proventriculus) and hepatocytes expressed the chitinase mRNA. Because cattle produce the gut chitinase (chitin-binding protein b04) only in the liver, the gut chitinases in mammals and birds have three major sources of production, i.e., the salivary gland, stomach, and liver. During ontogenetic development, the expression level in the parotid gland and stomach of mice increased to the adult level before weaning, whereas in the stomach of chickens intense signals were detectable in embryos from incubation day 7.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1089
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Acidic mammalian chitinase
  • Chitinase
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • In situ hybridization
  • Parotid gland
  • Pepsinogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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