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April 1971

Goblet Cells in the Human Fetal Eustachian Tube

Author Affiliations

From the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department, the Glostrup Hospital, Copenhagen.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1971;93(4):365-373. doi:10.1001/archotol.1971.00770060557003

Specimens from fetuses, premature infants, and a newborn were studied with special stain to elucidate the development of goblet cells in the eustachian tube and middle ear. It was found that development of goblet cells starts in the 12th menstrual week in the lateral wall of the rhinopharynx and spreads to the tube. Later, the goblet cells spread from Rosenmüller's fossa to the median wall, and goblet cell formation begins in the lateral wall in the 15th week. The development of goblet cells continues towards the tympanic orifice. In the second half of pregnancy, the number of goblet cells increases, and differences in density are gradually equalized. At birth the goblet cells are equally distributed throughout the tube; however, their density is greater in the pharyngeal than in the tympanic half. Goblet cells are present in the tympanic orifice, and may be seen in the anterior half of the hypotympanum and mesotympanum close to the orifice, but none in the other parts of the middle ear.

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