JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Hirschsprung's disease: is there a relationship between mast cells and nerve fibers?

AIM: To define the topography of mast cells and their numbers in cases of Hirschsprung's disease (HD) and non-HD, assess neural hypertrophy using imaging software and to study the relationship between mast cells and nerve fibers.

METHODS: HE stained sections of 32 cases of chronic constipation in the age group of 0-14 years were reviewed for ganglion cells. AChE staining was performed on frozen sections of colonic and rectal biopsies. Based on their findings cases were divided into HD and non-HD and mast cells stained by toluidine blue were evaluated. Image analysis by computerized software was applied to S-100 stained sections for assessment of neural hypertrophy.

RESULTS: Difference between number of mast cells in HD group (mean = 36.44) and in non-HD group (mean = 14.79) was statistically significant. Image analysis morphometry on S-100 stained sections served as a useful adjunct. The difference between number, size, and perimeter of the nerve fibers between HD and non-HD group was statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Mast cells are significantly increased in HD and their base line values are much higher in Indian children than that reported in Western literature. Their role in HD needs further research. Morphometry of S-100 stained nerve fibers is a useful adjunct to conventional methods for diagnosis of HD.

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