Assessment for evidence of apoptosis of myenteric ganglion cells at the transition zone in Hirschsprung's Disease and the developing large intestine
Carter, Terri Anne
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Introduction: Hirschsprung’s Disease (HD) is the congenital absence of ganglion cells (GCs) within the distal intestine. Our objectives are to determine if apoptosis of myenteric GCs occurs during human development and to determine if myenteric GC apoptosis or injury contributes to HD. Materials and Methods: Apoptosis of myenteric GCs was assessed in archived fetal intestinal tissue (n = 4; 15-41 weeks gestational age) and in HD at the transition zone (TZ) (n = 6) using anti-cleaved caspase-3. Immunohistochemistry for GFAP, CD68, HLA-DR and APP was used to assess the presence of enteric reactive changes. Results: No activated caspase-3 expression was present in the myenteric GCs of the developing human intestine or the TZ of HD. No significant increase in GFAP, CD68, HLA-DR or APP expression was present. Conclusions: Apoptosis does not appear to occur during the development of the human myenteric plexus or, in conjunction with GC injury, in HD.