MICROSCOPY Vol.43▶No.2 2008
â– Feature Articles: Re-evaluation of fibroblasts and fibroblast-like cells: newer aspects

Intercellular Signaling of Subepithelial Fibroblasts in Intestinal Villi

Sonoko Furuyaa and Kishio Furuyab

aNational Institute for Physiological Sciences
bICORP/SORST, Japan Science and Technology Agency

Abstract: Subepithelial fibroblasts of intestinal villi form contractile cellular networks via gap junctions. They sheathe lamina propria and are in close contact with epithelium, neural and capillary networks, smooth muscles, and immune cells. Subepithelial fibroblasts have unique characteristics such as: cAMP-dependent rapid reversal changes in cell-shape, cell-shape dependent mechanosensitivity that induces ATP release as a paracrine mediator, contractile ability, and expression of various receptors for endothelins, substance-P, ATP etc. They serve as mechanosensor and signal transduction machinery in the intestinal villi, which are regulated locally and dynamically by rapid cell-shape conversion.

Key words: Intestinal villi, Subepithelial fibroblasts, Ca2+ signaling, ATP receptors, Gap junction