August 14, 2019 1

Goblet cell

Goblet cell

A goblet cell is a glandular simple columnar
epithelial cell whose function is to secrete gel forming mucins, which are the major component
of mucus. The goblet cells use both apocrine and merocrine
methods for secretion. The majority of the cell’s cytoplasm is occupied
by mucinogen granules, except at the bottom, where rough endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria,
the nucleus, and other organelles are concentrated. The apical plasma membrane projects microvilli
to increase surface area for secretion. Structure
They are found scattered among the epithelial lining of organs, such as the intestinal and
respiratory tracts. They are found inside the trachea, bronchus,
and larger bronchioles in respiratory tract, small intestines, the colon, and conjunctiva
in the upper eyelid. They may be an indication of metaplasia, such
as in Barrett’s esophagus. Histology
The nuclei of goblet cells tend to be displaced toward the basal end of the cell body, leading
to intense basophilic staining. In mucicarmine stains, deep red mucin found
within goblet cell bodies. Goblet cells can be seen in the examples below
as the larger, more pale cells. Function
The main role of goblet cells is to secrete mucus in order to protect the mucosae where
they are found. Types of secretion
Basal secretions. This is the normal base level secretion of
mucus, which is accomplished by cytoskeletal movement of secretory granules. Stimulated secretion. Secretion may be stimulated by dust, smoke,
etc. Other stimuli include viruses, bacteria, etc. Role in oral tolerance
Oral tolerance is the process by which the immune system is prevented from responding
to antigen derived from food products, as peptides from food may pass into the bloodstream
via the gut, which would in theory lead to an immune response. A recent paper published in Nature, has shed
some light on the process and implicated goblet cells as having a role in the process. It was known that CD103 expressing dendritic
cells of the lamina propria had a role to play in the induction of oral tolerance, and
this paper suggests that the goblet cells act to preferentially deliver antigen to these
CD103+ dendritic cells. Clinical significance
Goblet cell carcinoid – a tumor that has a component that is similar to goblet cells
History Etymology
The term goblet refers to these cells’ goblet-like shape. The apical portion is shaped like a cup, as
it is distended by abundant mucinogen granules; its basal portion is shaped like a stem, as
it is narrow for lack of these granules. There are other cells that secrete mucus,
but they are not usually called “goblet cells” because they do not have this distinctive
shape. References External links
Goblet Cells at

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