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Neuronal plasticity of the enteric nervous system is correlated with chagasic megacolon development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 July 2008

A. B. M. da SILVEIRA
Affiliation:
Research Center René Rachou, FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil – CEP 30.190-002
M. A. R. FREITAS
Affiliation:
Department of Parasitology, ICB, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil – CEP 31.270-901
E. C. de OLIVEIRA
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Medical School, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil – CEP 74.001-970
S. G. NETO
Affiliation:
Department of Surgery, Medical School, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil – CEP 74.001-970
A. O. LUQUETTI
Affiliation:
Chagas' Disease Research Laboratory, IPTSP, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil – CEP 74.001-970
J. B. FURNESS
Affiliation:
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia – Postal Code 3010
R. CORREA-OLIVEIRA
Affiliation:
Research Center René Rachou, FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil – CEP 30.190-002
D. d'AVILA REIS
Affiliation:
Department of Morphology, ICB, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil – CEP 31.270-901
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Summary

Chagas' disease is one of the few functional gastrointestinal disorders for which a causative agent has been identified. However, some pathological aspects of the chagasic megasyndromes are still incompletely understood. Chagasic megacolon is characterized by an inflammatory process, organ dilatation and neuronal reduction in both plexuses of the enteric nervous system (ENS). Although some studies on the ENS in Chagas' disease have been performed, the process of neuronal destruction and neuronal regeneration still remains unclear. Our hypothesis is that the regeneration process of the ENS may be involved with the mechanisms that prevent or retard organ dilatation and chagasic megacolon development. For that reason, we evaluated the neuronal regeneration with the marker GAP-43 in the colon's neuronal plexuses from chagasic patients with megacolon, and from non-infected individuals. Visual examination and quantitative analysis revealed an increased neuronal regeneration process in the dilated portion from chagasic patients when compared with the non-dilated portion and with non-infected individuals. We believe that this increased regeneration can be interpreted as an accentuated neuronal plasticity that may be a response of the ENS to avoid megacolon propagation to the entire organ and maintain the colon functional innervation.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Cambridge University Press

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