The morphological changes of the colonic goblet cells and mucin profile in oncohematological patients under Epirubicin-based chemotherapy

Vol. 61 No. 4, 2020


Coralia Adina Cotoraci, Alciona Sasu, Alexandru Fica Mircea Onel, Dana Iovanescu, Eftimie Miutescu, Sami Gharbia, Alina Liliana Ciceu, Hildegard Herman, Anca Oana Hermenean

Changes in the lining of the small intestine following chemotherapy have been extensively studied, although also occurs in the large intestine. The aim of this study was to assess the consequences of Epirubicin-based therapy on goblet cells (GCs) and mucus production on colonic mucosa, immediately and after short-time of chemotherapy administration to oncohematological patients, by clinical and histopathological analysis. We assessed the mucus production, composition, and distribution by Alcian Blue (pH 2.5)-Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS) staining, alongside with the immunoexpression of mucin (MUC)2, MUC4 and inflammatory markers in a series of oncohematological patients, immediately and after short-time of Epirubicin-based chemotherapy cumulative therapy cessation. We showed that GCs number decrease slightly at 48 hours, while mucous secretion became mixed (with a few neutral) after three weeks. Overall, the secretion was increased immediately after the Epirubicin administration, due to the activation of inflammatory pathways, assessed by increased immunostaining of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) at 48 hours. The MUC2 and MUC4 showed a decreased immunoexpression at 48 hours after the Epirubicin administration compared to controls and partially restored three weeks after the cessation. Overall, it is highly plausible that all these key players revolve around the chemotherapy-induced mucositis in oncohematological patients and highlights the morphofunctional particularities of the GCs, which further modulates the clinical outcome of the patient.

Corresponding author: Coralia Adina Cotoraci, Professor, MD, PhD; e-mail:

DOI: 10.47162/RJME.61.4.14 Download PDF
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