The shortest possible definition for telocytes is “cells with telopodes”. The term comes from the greek affix “telos” meaning scope, objective, fulfillment and from the root “cytes” meaning cells. They are cells with a small oval-shaped body, from which are emerging very long (up to tens/hundreds of µm) and very thin (mostly below 0.5 µm) prolongations – the telopodes (from podos, meaning foot). They have been overlooked until now...
Interstitial Cells of Cajal (ICC)
Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934) was a famous Spanish scientist, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1906 (shared with Camillo Golgi), for the work on the structure of the nervous system. He discovered a particular cell type in the gut, which he named “interstitial neurons".
In the early 1970s, electron microscopy/electron microscope (EM) studies showed that indeed a special interstitial cell type corresponding to the cells discovered by Cajal is localized in the gut muscle coat, but it became obvious that they were not neurons. Consequently, they were renamed ‘interstitial cells of Cajal’ (ICC) and considered to be pace-makers for gut motility.
In the same fashion that "interstitial neurons" became now known as "Interstitial Cells of Cajal", formerly known "Interstitial Cajal-Like Cells" are now being called "TELOCYTES".