Supplementary Material for: Late Embryonic and Postnatal Development of Interstitial Cells of Cajal in Mouse Esophagus: Distribution, Proliferation and Kit Dependence

This paper investigates alterations in interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) in the esophagus of mice from embryonic day 13.5 (E13.5) to 36 days postpartum (P0–P36) using immunohistochemistry. At E13.5, Kit+ cells presented in clusters and differentiated into spindle-like cells with biopolar processes within the outer (longitudinal) and inner (circular) muscle layers at E17.5. These Kit+ ICC with long processes were also Ano1+ and prominent at birth. The density of ICC gradually decreased, and at P36 it became about one twentieth of that at birth. Kit ligand (stem cell factor) expression is lower in striated muscle cells than that in smooth muscle cells. The ICC number was higher in the distal (close to the cardia) than in the proximal esophagus (close to the pharynx). Some Kit+/Ki67+ and Kit+/bromodeoxyuridine+ cells were observed within the muscle layers, and proliferation persisted from birth through adulthood (P28) with a gradually decreasing cell number. At 24 h, Kit+ ICC were dramatically decreased and almost missing 48 h after administration of imatinib (a Kit inhibitor). Our results indicate that ICC proliferation is age dependent and persists throughout the postnatal period. There is a dramatic decrease in the ICC number from P0 to adult life. The Kit signal is essential for the postnatal development of ICC in the esophagus.