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Gastric chief cell

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Title: Gastric chief cell  
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Subject: Stomach, Exocrine gland, Vasoactive intestinal peptide, Fundic glands
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Gastric chief cell

Chief cell
H&E stain of fundic gland polyp showing shortening of the gastric pits with cystic dilatation
A fundus gland. A. Transverse section of gland.
Latin exocrinocytus principalis
Code TH H3.
Anatomical terminology

A gastric chief cell (or peptic cell, or gastric zymogenic cell) is a cell in the stomach that releases pepsinogen and gastric lipase and is the cell responsible for secretion of chymosin in ruminants.[1] The cell stains basophilic upon H&E prep due to the large proportion of rough endoplasmic reticulum in its cytoplasm. Gastric chief cells are generally located deep in the mucosal layer of the stomach lining.

Chief cells release the zymogen (enzyme precursor) pepsinogen when stimulated by a variety of factors including cholinergic activity from the vagus nerve and acidic condition in the stomach. Gastrin and secretin may also act as secretagogues.[2]

It works in conjunction with the parietal cell, which releases gastric acid, converting the pepsinogen into pepsin.


The terms "chief cell" and "zymogenic cell" are often used without the word "gastric" to name this type of cell. However those terms can also be used to describe other cell types (for example, parathyroid chief cells.) Chief cells are also known as peptic cells.

Human chief cells near tip of black pointer.

See also


  1. ^ Kitamura, N.; A. Tanimote, E. Hondo, A. Andren D.F. Cottrell, M. Sasaki, and J. Yamada. (2001). Anatomia, Histologia, Embryologia. 30: 231–235. PMID 11534329. doi:10.1046/j.1439-0264.2001.00326.x. 
  2. ^ Johnson. Gastrointestinal Physiology 6th Edition. Mosby. 2001

External links

  • Anatomy Atlases - Microscopic Anatomy, plate 01.05
  • Histology image: 22201loa - Histology Learning System at Boston University - "Ultrastructure of the Cell: chief cells and enteroendocrine cell"
  • Histology image: 11304loa - Histology Learning System at Boston University - "Digestive System: Alimentary Canal: fundic stomach, gastric glands, base"
  • "chief cell" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

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