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Amyloid. 1999 Sep;6(3):192-8.

Endocrine cells in the upper gastrointestinal tract in relation to gastrointestinal dysfunction in patients with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, UmeĆ„ University Hospital, Sweden.


Gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction is a common complication of familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP). In previous reports, a decreased content of small and large intestinal endocrine cells has been found in patients with FAP and it has been suggested that this may contribute to the development of GI disturbances. The aim of the present study was to investigate the endocrine cell content in the stomach and duodenum of FAP patients, and to correlate the findings with gastric emptying. Fifteen patients with FAP were included in the study. Twenty-eight subjects with macroscopically and histologically normal mucosa were used as controls for endocrine cell contents and 14 healthy subjects for gastric scintigraphy. The endocrine cells were identified by immunohistochemistry and quantified with image analysis. Gastric emptying time was detected by scintigraphy and endoscopy. The number of chromogranin A-immunoreactive (IR) cells was reduced in all investigated parts of the GI tract except bulbus duodeni. Gastrin/CCK cell content was reduced in duodenum, but tended to be increased in antrum of the stomach (P = 0.07). Otherwise, the content of all other endocrine cells types in the upper GI tract was reduced compared with controls. A correlation with malnutrition was found for gastric inhibitory polypeptide and secretin cell content in bulbus duodeni. Gastric scintigraphy disclosed delayed gastric emptying of solid food, but the finding was not correlated to the decreased content of neuroendocrine cells. The severity of endocrine cell depletion was not correlated to duration of GI disturbances. The present study showed that the endocrine cells of the stomach are affected in FAP patients and that the abnormalities in the upper GI endocrine cells occur early during the course of the disease.

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