Gastric chief cell
A gastric chief cell is a cell in the stomach
The stomach is a muscular, hollow, dilated part of the alimentary canal which functions as an important organ of the digestive tract in some animals, including vertebrates, echinoderms, insects , and molluscs. It is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication .The stomach is...

 that releases pepsinogen, gastric lipase
Gastric lipase
Gastric lipase, also known as LIPF, is an enzymatic protein that, in humans, is encoded by the LIPF gene.-Function:Gastric lipase is an acidic lipase secreted by the gastric chief cells in the fundic mucosa in the stomach. It has a pH optimum of 3-6. Gastric lipase, together with lingual lipase,...

 and Chymosin
Chymosin or rennin is an enzyme found in rennet. It is produced by cows in the lining of the abomasum...

. The cell stains basophilic upon H&E prep
H&E stain
H&E stain, HE stain or hematoxylin and eosin stain is a popular staining method in histology. It is the most widely used stain in medical diagnosis; for example when a pathologist looks at a biopsy of a suspected cancer, the histological section is likely to be stained with H&E and termed H&E...

 due to the large proportion of rough endoplasmic reticulum
Endoplasmic reticulum
The endoplasmic reticulum is an organelle of cells in eukaryotic organisms that forms an interconnected network of tubules, vesicles, and cisternae...

 in its cytoplasm
The cytoplasm is a small gel-like substance residing between the cell membrane holding all the cell's internal sub-structures , except for the nucleus. All the contents of the cells of prokaryote organisms are contained within the cytoplasm...


Chief cells release the zymogen
A zymogen is an inactive enzyme precursor. A zymogen requires a biochemical change for it to become an active enzyme. The biochemical change usually occurs in a lysosome where a specific part of the precursor enzyme is cleaved in order to activate it...

 (enzyme precursor) pepsinogen when stimulated by a variety of factors including cholinergic
The word choline generally refers to the various quaternary ammonium salts containing the N,N,N-trimethylethanolammonium cation. Found in most animal tissues, choline is a primary component of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and functions with inositol as a basic constituent of lecithin...

 activity from the vagus nerve
Vagus nerve
The vagus nerve , also called pneumogastric nerve or cranial nerve X, is the tenth of twelve paired cranial nerves...

 and acidic condition in the stomach. Gastrin
In humans, gastrin is a peptide hormone that stimulates secretion of gastric acid by the parietal cells of the stomach and aids in gastric motility. It is released by G cells in the antrum of the stomach, duodenum, and the pancreas...

 and secretin
Secretin is a hormone that controls the secretions into the duodenum, and also separately, water homeostasis throughout the body. It is produced in the S cells of the duodenum in the crypts of Lieberkühn...

 may also act as secretagogues.

It works in conjunction with the parietal cell
Parietal cell
Parietal cells, or oxyntic cells, are the stomach epithelium cells that secrete gastric acid and intrinsic factor.Acetylcholine and gastrin . The histamine receptors act by increasing intracellular cAMP, whereas the muscarinic and gastrin receptors increase intracellular Ca2+ levels...

, which releases gastric acid
Gastric acid
Gastric acid is a digestive fluid, formed in the stomach. It has a pH of 1 to 2 and is composed of hydrochloric acid , and large quantities of potassium chloride and sodium chloride...

, converting the pepsinogen into pepsin
Pepsin is an enzyme whose precursor form is released by the chief cells in the stomach and that degrades food proteins into peptides. It was discovered in 1836 by Theodor Schwann who also coined its name from the Greek word pepsis, meaning digestion...



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 cell
Parathyroid chief cell
Parathyroid chief cells are cells in the parathyroid glands which produce parathyroid hormone....

s.) Chief cells are also known as peptic cells.

External links

- "Ultrastructure of the Cell: chief cells and enteroendocrine cell" - "Digestive System: Alimentary Canal: fundic stomach, gastric glands, base"
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