Intramucosal ganglion cells are common in diverticular disease

Department of Pathology, University Health Network/Toronto Medical Laboratories, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Pathology (Impact Factor: 2.62). 09/2008; 40(5):470-4. DOI: 10.1080/00313020802198028
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ganglion cells were thought not to occur within the mucosa of the normal colon and found only in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease and neuronal intestinal dysplasia. The aim of this study was to firmly establish the incidence of intramucosal ganglion cells in diverticular disease, normal mucosa and in a spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases.
We retrospectively reviewed 50 resection specimens from cases of symptomatic diverticular disease and biopsies and/or resection specimens for several neoplastic and non-neoplastic gastrointestinal diseases (50 normal and 120 cases for a variety of gastrointestinal diseases). Normal cases were constituted by biopsies with no clinical history of large bowel disease and no pathology detected microscopically.
All 50 cases of diverticular disease contained intramucosal ganglion cells, located within the muscularis mucosae (49/50 cases) as well as within the lamina propria in nine cases. Intramucosal ganglion cells occurred throughout the colorectum within the muscularis mucosae or lamina propria in normal mucosa in 11 cases and in a further 26 colorectal specimens with Crohn's disease (11/20), ulcerative colitis (11/20), adenocarcinoma (1/20), tubular adenoma (2/20), and mucosal prolapse (1/20). None of the 20 hyperplastic polyps contained intramucosal ganglion cells.
We have firmly established the existence of the intramucosal ganglion cells in normal and diseased colorectum, especially in the mucosa of cases of diverticular disease (100% of cases), Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These three conditions are linked by motility abnormalities which may underlie the reason for the presence of intramucosal ganglion cells.

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