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Keywords:

  • connective tissue;
  • esophagus;
  • fibroblast;
  • interstitial Cajal cell;
  • interstitial Cajal-like cell;
  • telopode

Abstract

TCs (telocytes) are actually defined as stromal cells with specific long and thin prolongations, called Tp (telopodes). They have been positively identified in various tissues and we now report their presence in the esophagus. These cells were identified by TEM (transmission electron microscopy) in esophageal samples of Wistar rats (n = 5) occurring beneath the basal epithelial layer, in submucosa, closely related to smooth and striated muscular fibres, as also in the adventitia. They are closely related to mast cells, macrophages and microvessels. Hybrid morphologies of stromal cells processes were found: cytoplasmic processes continued distally in a telopodial fashion. Telopodes alone may not be sufficient, however, for a safe diagnosis of TCs in TEM. A larger set of specific standards (such as the telopodial emergence, and the size of the cell body and telopodes) should be considered to differentiate TCs from various species of fibroblasts. The morphological and ultrastructural features should distinguish between TCs and interstitial cells of Cajal in the digestive tract.