The evaluation of interstitial Cajal cells distribution in non-tumoral colon disorders

Vol. 49 No. 3, 2008


G. Becheanu, M. Manuc, Mona Dumbravă, V. Herlea, Monica Hortopan, Mariana Costache

Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are pacemakers that generate electric waves recorded from the gut and are important for intestinal motility. The aim of the study was to evaluate the distribution of interstitial cells of Cajal in colon specimens from patients with idiopathic chronic pseudo-obstruction and other non-tumoral colon disorders as compared with samples from normal colon. The distribution pattern of ICC in the normal and pathological human colon was evaluated by immunohistochemistry using antibodies for CD117, CD34, and S-100. In two cases with intestinal chronic idiopathic pseudo-obstruction we found a diffuse or focal reducing number of Cajal cells, the loss of immunoreactivity for CD117 being correlated with loss of immunoreactivity for CD34 marker. Our study revealed that the number of interstitial cells of Cajal also decrease in colonic diverticular disease and Crohn disease (p<0.05), whereas the number of enteric neurones appears to be normal. These findings might explain some of the large bowel motor abnormalities known to occur in these disorders. Interstitial Cajal cells may play an important role in pathogenesis and staining for CD117 on transmural intestinal surgical biopsies could allow a more extensive diagnosis in evaluation of chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction.

Corresponding author: Gabriel Becheanu, MD, PhD, e-mail:

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