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Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2010 Dec;48(4):646-57. doi: 10.2478/v10042-010-0053-8.

Polysaccharides and mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) expression in gallbladder mucosa of young patients with gallstones as evaluated by spatial visualization and quantification.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, University of Medical Sciences, Poznań, Poland.


The study aimed at examination of tissue expression of polysaccharides and secretory mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) in young patients (up to 25 years of age) with a symptomatic gallstones. For comparison, patients most frequently subjected to cholecystectomy were studied, i.e. patients of approximately 50 years of age with the same diagnosis. In quantitative studies on tissue expression of both mucus components, the modern technique of spatial visualization was applied for the first time. Application of the technique permitted to demonstrate significant positive relationships between expression of glycoproteins (immunocytochemical ABC technique for detection of MUC5AC) and expression of sugar components in mucus (PAS technique) and to confirm suitability of the technique for quantitative appraisal of both histochemical and immunocytochemical reactions. An even higher expression of polysaccharides in the entire mucosa and of MUC5AC was detected in gallbladder epithelium of 50-year-old patients, as compared to young patients with symptomatic gallstones. In the young patients, expression of polysaccharides correlated with inflammatory activity (grading), width of gallbladder wall and PLT level in peripheral blood. A significantly higher expression of polysaccharides in gallbladder epithelium was demonstrated in young patients admitted in the emergency mode to the hospital. These correlations in young patients may suggest a role of both mucus components in pathogenesis of cholelithiasis in this age group. A quantitative appraisal of mucus component expression in the two parts of gallbladder mucosa (epithelium vs. entire mucosa) using spatial visualization technique permitted to more accurately compare production of glycoproteins and of polysaccharides in patients with cholelithiasis and to demonstrate additional correlations of a potential clinical significance.

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