Vol 55, No 1 (2017)
Original paper
Published online: 2017-03-31

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Ultrastructural characteristics of myenteric plexus in patients with colorectal cancer

Agata Zauszkiewicz-Pawlak, Janusz Godlewski, Przemyslaw Kwiatkowski, Zbigniew Kmiec
Pubmed: 28509311
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2017;55(1):6-10.


Introduction. It have been found previously that colorectal cancer (CRC) is accompanied by atrophy of myenteric plexuses (MPs) localized close to the tumor. The aim of the study was to compare ultrastructure of MPs localized in the unchanged part of the colon wall distant to CRC tumor with the ultrastructure of MPs in the vicinity of CRC tumor.

Material and methods. The present study was conducted using post-operative material derived from 11 patients with CRC. Samples of colon wall were taken from the margin of cancer invasion and from a macroscopically unchanged segment of the large intestine, immediately fixed and processed according to the standard protocol for transmission electron microscopy studies.

Results. In the MPs localized in the control part of colon wall the presence of numerous unmyelinated axons and cell bodies of neurons, interstitial cells of Cajal and enteroglial cells were observed. As compared to control samples, in the MPs located close to the tumor invasion, expansion of the extracellular matrix and myelin-like structures accompanying some nerve fibers were found. The appearance of mast and plasma cells was observed within MPs in the vicinity of CRC tumor. Sporadically, apoptotic cells were present inside the MPs.

Conclusions. The presence of myelin-like structures and apoptotic cells within MPs located close to tumor invasion suggests that atrophy of MPs may be caused by factors released from CRC tumor.

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