Purpose: The loss or decrease of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) has been implicated in several disorders of human intestinal motility. We have encountered a few cases suffering from severe constipation or enterocolitis resulting in patient death after a definitive operation for HD, even though the normoganglionic intestine had been successfully pulled through. We investigated the distribution of ICCs using c-kit immunostaining in the normoganglionic segment and compared these findings with the clinical outcome after a definitive operation in each case. Patients and Methods: The distributions of ICCs were investigated by using c-kit immunostaining in the normoganglionic segment in the resected bowel in 15 cases with HD. The distributions of protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) as a general neuronal marker and those of NADPH-diaphorase (NADPH-d) as a marker of nitric-oxide neurons were also examined. The numbers of ICCs and neurons were evaluated quantitatively. The histopathological results were compared with the clinical outcome after definitive operation in each case. Results: C-kit immunoreactive cells showed a normal distribution in the normoganglionic segment in 13 cases, while they were markedly (less than 50% compared with the other cases) decreased in 2 cases. The distributions of PGP 9.5 and NADPH-d were almost the same in all cases. The bowel movements of 13 cases showing normal c-kit distribution were satisfactory. In contrast, the bowel movements were impaired in 2 cases with a decreased number of c-kit positive cells. One infant suffered from severe persistent constipation and thus had to undergo a resection of a dilated colon. The other infant died of sepsis due to postoperative enterocolitis and showed a markedly dilated colon. Conclusion: A decreased number of c-kit positive cells in the normoganglionic segment can thus allow us to predict a poor clinical outcome after definitive surgery, probably due to poor intestinal motility. Therefore examining the c-kit distribution in a resected bowel specimen in patients with HD should be mandatory in order to select the optimal postoperative treatment regimen for each case.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health