2020 Volume 53 Issue 2 Pages 11-19
In the gastrointestinal tract musculatures, c-Kit receptor tyrosine kinase is specifically expressed in interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). ICC are distributed among the smooth muscle cells and are either bipolar or multipolar in shape. Our previous and current study shows that c-Kit-immunopositive smooth muscle cells are present in the murine cecum. Here, we found that c-Kit-expressing smooth muscle cells (named Kit-SM cells) are situated at the submucosal surface of the circular muscle layer. These cells showed smooth muscle actin and myosin immunoreactivities and ultrastructural features such as thick and thin filaments and caveolae. Kit-SM cells also expressed TMEM16A and LRIG1, which are known to be expressed in ICC. Although the functional significance of Kit-SM cells has yet to be revealed, these cells can be considered to have proliferation or differentiation potential in the cecal musculature.