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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2019 May;31(5):e13565. doi: 10.1111/nmo.13565. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Mast cell infiltration associated with loss of interstitial cells of Cajal and neuronal degeneration in achalasia.

Author information

1
Endoscopy Center and Endoscopy Research Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
2
Department of Urology, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
3
Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Achalasia is a motility disorder of unknown etiology. Previous studies supported the hypothesis that autoimmune-mediated inflammatory responses produce inhibitory neuronal degeneration. This study was designed to explore the role of mast cells in achalasia.

METHODS:

We collected information from 116 patients with achalasia who underwent peroral endoscopic myotomy between December 2016 and May 2017. Lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle biopsy was performed in all patients with achalasia, as well as 20 control subjects. The number of mast cells, interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs), nNOS-positive cells, and S-100-positive cells in the LES were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Pathological and clinical data were compared between groups.

KEY RESULTS:

Compared with controls, the LES of patients with achalasia had significantly fewer ICCs, nNOS-positive cells, and S-100-positive cells and a higher number of mast cells (all P < 0.001). Furthermore, the increased mast cell infiltration was significantly associated with decreased ICCs, nNOS-positive cells, and S-100-positive cells in patients with achalasia (all P < 0.05). Clinically, the number of strongly positive mast cells was highest in patients with type I achalasia and lowest in those with type III achalasia (P < 0.001). In addition, patients with a history of autoimmune disease or viral infection had greater mast cell infiltration in the LES muscle (P = 0.040).

CONCLUSIONS & INFERENCES:

In patients with achalasia, mast cell infiltration in the LES muscle is increased, in association with loss of ICCs and neuronal degeneration. Mast cells may thereby play a crucial role in the development of achalasia.

KEYWORDS:

achalasia; interstitial cells of Cajal; mast cells; neuronal degeneration

PMID:
30868687
DOI:
10.1111/nmo.13565

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