Histopathologic findings in patients with idiopathic megacolon: a comparison between dilated and non-dilated loops

H Ohkubo, T Masaki, N Matsuhashi, H Kawahara, T Yokoyama, A Nakajima, Y Ohkura
Neurogastroenterology and Motility: the Official Journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society 2014, 26 (4): 571-80

BACKGROUND: Idiopathic megacolon (IMC) is an intractable motility disorder in which chronic symptoms of colonic dysmotility appear with no mechanical cause. Although a pathological analysis is essential to understand the mechanism of IMC, no study has compared the histopathologic findings between dilated and non-dilated loops in IMC cases, and little is known about the proportion of each disease subtype.

METHODS: Fifty-three full-thickness samples (dilated loops, n = 31; non-dilated loops, n = 22) from 31 IMC cases and 16 samples (dilated loops; n = 8, non-dilated loops; n = 8) from eight controls were collected. All the samples were stained with hematoxylin-eosin (HE), Hu C/D antibody, and CD117 antibody to assess degenerative myopathy, degenerative neuropathy, inflammatory neuropathy, hypoganglionosis, and mesenchymopathy according to the London Classification. Findings of the dilated and non-dilated loop samples were compared, and the proportions of each subtype were analyzed.

KEY RESULTS: Based on a control study, <60 ganglion cells/cm was defined as hypoganglionosis in our series. Myopathy was observed in 11 patients (35.5%), neuropathy was in 19 patients (61.3%), and mesenchymopathy was in 10 patients (32.2%). An overlap between subtypes was observed in some cases. Surprisingly, the non-dilated loop samples exhibited very similar histopathologic abnormalities to those observed in the dilated loop samples in most cases.

CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES: Our study is the first to compare the histopathologic findings between dilated and non-dilated loops in IMC patients. Histopathologic abnormalities precede the clinical manifestation of IMC, and may consequently lead to gradual colonic dilatation; however, detailed mechanism including dilation triggering factor needs further elucidation.

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