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Abstract

To determine the extent and ultrastructure of epithelium lining the transitional nasal mucosa of the neonate, gnotobiotic calf tissues were prepared for scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Stratified cuboid epithelium of the rostral 40% of the nasal cavity contained few ciliated cells; the next caudal 10–15%, although ciliated, had extensive nonciliated areas. The predominant type of surface cell was nonciliated, had short microvilli, and contained a multilobate nucleus and numerous pinocytotic vesicles. In some areas the surface of these cells presented a cobblestone appearance. Basal cells contained numerous bundles of filaments, ribosomes, and basal vesicles. Caudally, nonciliated columnar cells included a cell type similar to the more rostral cuboid cell, as well as brush cells and immature secretory and ciliated cells. Goblet cells were infrequently observed. Intraepithelial nerve terminals were abundant. Other intraepithelial cells, often difficult to identify owing to varying characteristics, included lymphocytes. Based upon comparisons of this neonatal epithelium with mature epithelium, observed in earlier studies of other mammalian species, the transitional mucosa is believed normally to occupy an extensive area of the nasal cavity.